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:^-fc> 




HARVARD 
COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




WORKS OF CHARLES DICKENS. 

• 

VOL. XI. 
SKETOHES BT BOZ. 



SKETCHES BY BOZ. 



ILLUBTBiLTiyS OF 



BVEBT-DAT LIFE AlTD EVERT-DAT 
PEOPLE. 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK. 



LONDON: 
CHAPMAN AND HALL, 198, PICCADILLY. 

186S. 



sD 



HARVARD COllEBE LIIRARV 

MARY e. HAVtN 
^ JULY 2| ItK. 



LONDON 
FRAOBrRY, EVANS, AND CO., PRTNTFRS, WBITEFKIAR8. 



PREFACE. 



Ths whole of these Sketches were written and published, 
one "by one, when I was a very yoimg man. They were 
coUecfced and re-published while I was still a very young 
man; and sent into the world with all their imperfections 
(a good many) on their heads. 

They comprise my first attempts at authorship — with the 
exception of certain tragedies aohieyed at the mature age of 
eight or ten, and represented with great applause to over- 
flowing nurseries. I am conscious of their often being 
extremely crude and ill-considered, and bearing obvious 
marks of haste and inexperience; particularly in that section 
of the present volimie which is comprised under the general 
head of Tales. 

But as this collection is not originated now, and was very 
leniently and favourably received when it was first made, I 
have not felt it right either to remodel or expunge, beyond 
a few words and phraaes here and there. 

October, 1850. 



CONTENTS- 
SEVEN SKETCHES FROM OUR PARISH 
I CHAPTER L 

/ PACK 

V Ths Bbasub. Thh Pabish EHainx. The Sohoolxastbb . 1 

CHAPTER IL 
Thb Cubais. Thi Old Ladt. Thi Halv-pat Gapxaiv. 6 

CHAPTER IIL 
Thb Pcitb Sibxhib 12 

CHAPTER IV. 
Thb EuKmoB vdb Bbadu 1q 

CHAPTER v. 
Thb Bbokbe's Mah 28 

• CHAPTER YL 
Thb Laj>ib8^ Soozbiiib 32 

CHAFrER VIL 
UuB NBxae-DooB Nuohboitb 37 



viii CONTENTS. 



Y 



SCENES. 



OHAPTEB I. 

PAOB 

ThI SiBlKTB — ^llOBSINa • . • 45 



CHAFTEK IL 

ThS StRSKIS — NlQHT ..••«... t • 50 

CHAPTEE HL 
Shops m> thbYr Trrants 55 

OHAPTEB IV. 

t SOOTLAVD'TARD • • 59 

i 

; CHAPTER V. 

. BiYWS-DlXLB 64 

/ CHAPTER VL 

^ MiDITAXIONS in MoVKOnTH-STRnR 68 

CHAPTER VIL 
Haosvet-ooaoh Stavds 75 

CHAPTER VnL 

BooioBS* CoKxoirs 79 

CHAPTER rX. • 
LovDOH BacnuLLiiosB 84 

CHAPTER X. 
Thb Rivbr 89 



CONTENTS. u 

CHAPTER XL 

PAO« 
AffLR'B 96 

OHAFTER Xn. 
QBunnoB Faik 102 

CHAPTER TTTT. 

PUTATS THBATBXi 110 

CHAPTER XIV. 

VAUZHALIrOARDSn BT BaT 116 

CHAPTER XV. 
Sablt Ooaobxb 122 

CHAPTER XVX 
OmiBDSBs ..••....•••. 127 

CHAPTER XVn. 

Thi Last Cab-dbiyxb, arb thi Fib0t Omvibub-cad .181 

CHAPTER XVIIL 

A PAXLUJcaaTABT Sksioh 140 

CHAPTER XIX. 
Prouo Diirsns « • • 151 

CHAPTER XX. 
Tn FiBST ov Mat 157 

CHAPTER XXI. 

BBOKlBflT AXD llABnrE-STORI 8hop8 164 



J 



\i 



z OONTBNT& 

OHAPTER XXIL 
Qnr-BHOPS 169 

CHAPTER XXTTT. 
Thi Pawvbbokib's Shop 174 

OHAPTER XXI V, 
CancDrAL Courts 181 

OHAPTER XXV. 
A Visit to Niwoatb • • »jg. ISO 



CHARACTERS. 

CHAPTER L 
Thoughts uiout People 200 

CHAPTEDEl IL 
A Christmas DonriR 205 

CHAPTER HL 
Thb Nbw Thar 210 

CHAPTER IV. 
Miss Btahs ahp thv Baqli ....«•«• 215 

CELAPTER V. 
Thb Parlour Orator 210 



1 



CHAPTER VL 
Thb Hospital Patibrt .... « • . 224 



CONTENTS. xi 

CHAPTER VIL 

PAOB 

Taa MiBPitAOMD Attaohmbht ov Mb. Johh Douitob . ... 228 

CHAPTER Vin. 
Tb« M18TA.KXH MiLUKSB. A Tali ov Axbhioh . • • . 284 

CHAPTER IX 
Th« Daitotho Aoadbmt ^ 240 

CHAPTER X. 
Shabbt-qshtsbl PaoPLB . . . ^ 246 

CHAPTER XL 
MAKnro A NiOHT of it 250 



J 



CHAPTER Xn. 
Teh PBZSoinuui' Vah 256 



TALES. 

' CHAPTER L 
Thjb Boardiho-houbb 269 

CHAPTER n. 
Mr. Misbs and his CtOUBIN 296 

CHAPTER TIL 

SutllfKBT . . 306 

CHAPTER IV. 
Thh Tuaos's at Ramsoatb .... 817. 



cU OONTENTa 

CHAPTER V. 

PAOl 

Horatio SpiBinn 837 

CHAPTER VI 
Thk Black Ym .852 

CHAPTER VIL 
Tri Stiax BzouBnov ^ . 864 

CHAPTER Vni. 
Thi Gbiai WorouBiniT Dvbl 885 

CHAPTER IX. 

Mb8. Josbph Fortu 402 

CHAPTER X. 

k PAflSAoi iir TBI Lm ov Mb. Watedtb Tottli . . .412 

CHAPTER XI. 

Thi Blooxsburt CBEZBnraro 448 

CHAPTER XEL 
Thi DsinrKABD's I>iath .464 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Tm BLwnoii iob Biadu 

Tbi Pabibb Bvonn 
Tn Biokmb'8 Mav 
OuB Nuo-IKiOK NnaHBOUBS 
Thi SfBnxs— MoBHoro 

SoOfLAXO TaBD 

Sim Dials 
HomouYH SnJDR • 

HaOKSST GqAOH SfAXM 
LOVOOS BlOBSATIOM 

GusvwioH Fair 
pRtYAn Thxatbu . 
Vauzhall Qabdiis bt Day 
Bablt Coaohbb 
Thi Labt Cab-Dbitbb 

PVBLIO DiRBBBS . 

Thb Fibbv or Mat . 

Thb Gib-Shop . 

Thb Pawbbbokbb'8 Shop • 



Gbobob Gbvixbhabk. 
Ditto 


nxmtispieoe 

PW 

8 


Ditto 


. . 28 


Ditto 


. . 87 


Ditto 


. . 46 


Ditto 


. 69 


Ditto 


. . 64 


Ditto 


68 


Ditto 


. . 76 


Ditto 


. . 84 


Ditto 


. . 102 


Ditto 


. . no 


Ditto 


. . 116 


Ditto 


. . 122 


Ditto 


. . 181 


Ditto 


. 161 


Ditto 


. . 167 


Ditto 


. . 168 


Ditto 


. . 174 



«T 



U8T OF ILLUSIBATIOKS. 



Thovqbts about Pjzoplh . « n Oioaax 

jBlflXA EyAHS . . . • 

A FlOKPOOKET ta GUBTODr . 

Mb. John Douhob .... 
Thi DANonia AoADyiir 
Making a Night ov it . 

ThB BOAHDINO-HOITBI . 

Thb Boarding-Hovse. Chapter 2ud. 
Mr. Minns and his Cousin. 
Sentihent .... 
The Tuggs's at Ramsgatb . 
Horatio Sparkins . 
Steam Exoubsion-— Plate I. . 

Ditto Plate II. . 

Thb Winglbburt Dubl 
Mrs. Joseph Pobteb 
Watkins Tottlb. 
The Look-up House 

Mr. Watkins Tottle and Miss Lillebton 
Blooksburt Christening . . . 





Page 


Cruieshank 


. . 200 


Ditto . . 


. 215 


Ditto 


. • 225 


Ditto . . 


. 228 


Ditto 


. . 240 


Ditto . . 


. 250 


Ditto 


. . 259 


Ditto . . 


. 275 


Ditto 


. . 296 


Ditto 


. 306 


Ditto 


. . 817 


Ditto . . 


. 887 


Di|io 


. 864 


Ditto 


88^ 


Ditto 


. 896 


Ditto . . 


. 402 


Ditto 


. . 422 


Ditto . . 


. . 480 


Ditto 


. . 442 


Ditto . . 


. 448 



SKETCHES BY BOZ. 



OUR PARISH. 



CHAPTER I. 

THX BBAOLE. TBI PABISH SNOIKX. f HB SOHOOLlfABTKB. 

How much is conveyed in those two short words — " The 
Parish ! " And with how many tales of distress and misery, 
of broken fortune and mined hopes, too often of unrelieved 
-wretchedness and successful knaveiy, are they associated ! A 
poor man with small e^ttnings, and a large £unily, just 
manages to Hve on from liand to mouth, and to procure food 
from day to day; he has barely sufficient to satisfy the 
present eravings of nature, and can take no heed of the future. 
His taxes are in arrear, quarter day passes by, another quarter 
day arrives : he can procure no more quarter for himself, and 
is summoned by — ^the parish. His goods are distrained, his 
children are crying with cold and hunger, and the very bed on 
which his sick wife is lying, is dragged from beneath her. 
What can he do ? To whom is he to apply for relief? To 
private charity? To benevolent individiials ? Certainly not 
— there is his parish. There are the parish vestry, the 
parish infirmary, the parish surgeon, the parish officers, the 
parish beadle. Excellent institutions, and gentle, kind-hearted 
men. The woman dies — she is buried by the parish. The 
children have no protector — ^they are taken care of by the 
pariah. The man first neglects, and afterwards cannot obtain, 
work — he is relieved by the parish ; and when distress and 
dnmkenness have done their work upon him, he is maintained^ 
a hanniess babbling idiot, in the parish asylum. 

B 



2 SOTCHSS BY BOZ. 

The parish beadle is one of the most, perhaps the most, 
important member of the local administration. He is not so 
well of^ as the churchwardens, certainly, nor is he so learned 
as the vestry-clerk, nor does he order things quite so much 
his own way as either of them. But his power is very great, 
notwithstanding; and the dignity of his office is never 
impaired by the absence of efforts on his part to TnainfAiTi it. 
The beadle of our parish is a splendid fellow. * It is quite 
delightful to hear him, as he explains the state of the existing 
poor laws to the deaf old women in the board-room-passage 
on business nights ; and to hear what he said to the senior 
churchwarden, and what the senior churchwarden said to him ; 
and what "we" (the beadle and the other gentlemen) came 
to the determination of doing. A miserable-looking woman 
is called into the board-room, and represents a case of extreme 
destitution, affecting herself — ^a widow, with six small children. 
" Where do you live ? " inquires one of the overseers. " I 
rents a two-pair back, gentlemen, at Mrs. Brown's, Number 8, 
Little King William's-alley, which has lived there this fifteen 
year, and knows me to be very hard-working and industrious, 
and when my poor husband was alive, gentlemen, as died in 
the hospital " — *' Well, well," interrupts the overseer, taking 
a note of the address, " I 'U send Simmons, the beadle, to- 
morrow morning, to ascertain whefiier your stoiy is correct ; 
and if so, I suppose you .must have an order into ^e House — 
Simmons, go to this woman's the first thing to-morrow 
morning, will you? " Simmons bows assent, and ushers the 
woman out. Her previous admiration of " the board " (who 
all sit behind great books, and with their hats on) fedes into 
nothing before her respect for her lace-trimmed conductor; 
and her account of what has passed inside, increases — if that 
be possible — ^the marks of respect, shown by the assembled 
I crowd, to that solemn ^inctionaiy. As to taking out a 
summons, it's quite a hopeless case if Simmons attends it, 
on behalf of the parish. He knows all the titles of the Lord 
Mayor by heart ; states the case without a single stammer : 
and it is even reported that on one occasion he ventured to 
make a joke, which the Lord Mayor's head footman (who 
happened to be present) afterwards told an intimate friend, 
confidentially, was almost equal to one of Mr. Hobler's. 

See him again on Sunday in his state-coat and cocked-hat, 
with a large-headed staff for show in his left hand, and a 




^-^!^^i^hM<£ 



THB BBABLB. 8 

small cane for lise in liis rigiht. How pompously lie marshal? 
the children into their places ! and how demurely the little 
urchins look at him askance as he surveys them when they 
are all seated, with a glare of the eye peculiar to beadles ! 
The churchwardens and overseers being duly installed in their 
curtained pews, he seats himself on a mahogany bracket, 
erected expressly for him at the top of the aisle, and divides his 
attention between his prayer-book and the boys. Suddenly, 
just at the commencement of the communion service, when 
the whole congregation is hushed into a profoimd silence,, 
broken only by the voice of the officiating clergyman, a penny 
is heard to ring on the stone floor of the aisle with*astounding 
deamess. Observe the generalship of the beadle. His 
involuntary look of horror is instantly changed into one of 
perfect indifference, as if he were the only person present who 
had not heard the noise. The artiflce succeeds. After putting 
forth his right leg now and then, as a feeler, the victim who 
dropped the money ventures to make one or two distinct dives 
after it ; and the beadle, gliding softly round, salutes his little 
round head, when it again appears above the seat, with divers 
double knocks, admimstered with the cane before noticed, to 
the intense delight of Ihree young men in an adjacent pew, 
who cough violently at intervals untLL the conclusion of the 
sermon. 

Such are a few traits of the importance and gravity of a . 
parish-beadla— a gravity which has never been disturbed in 
any case that has come imder our observation, except when i 
the services of that particularly useful machine, a parish fire-' 
engine, are required : then indeed all is bustle. Two little ' 
boys run to the beadle as fast as their legs will cany them, 
and report from their own personal observation that some 
neighbouring chimney is on fire; the engine is hastily got 
out, and a plentiful supply of boys being obtained, and har- 
nessed to it with ropes, away they rattle over the pavement,, 
the beadle, running — ^we do not exaggerate— running at the* 
side, until they arrive at some house, smelting strongly of 
soot, at the door of which the beadle knocks with considerable 
gravity for half an hour. No attention being paid to these 
mauual applications, and the turn-cock having turned on the 
water, the engine turns off amidst the shouts of the boys ; it 
pulLs up once more at the workhouse, and the beadle '' pulls, 
up" the unfortunate householder next day, for the amount of 

b2 



4 8KBTCHES BY BOZ. 

his legal reward. We never saw a parish engine at a regular 
fire but once. It came up in gallant style — ^three miles and a 
half an hour, at least ; there was a capital supply of water, 
and it was first on the spot. Bang went the pumps — ^the 
people cheered — the beadle perspired profusely; but it was 
unfortunately discovered, just as they were going to put the 
fire out, that nobody understood the process by which the 
engine was fiUed with water ; and that eighteen boys, and a 
man, had exhausted themselves in pumping for twenty 
minutes, without produdng the slightest effect ! 

The personages next in importance to the beadle, are the 
master of the workhouse and the parish schoolmaster. The 
vestry-clerk, as eveiybody knows, is a short, pudgy little man, 
in black, with a ihidk gold watch-chain of considerable length, 
terminating in two large seals and a key. He is an attorney, 
and generally in a bustle ; at no time more so than when he 
is hurrying to some parochial meeting, with his gloves 
crumpled up in one hand, and a large red book under the 
other arm. As to the churchwardens and overseers, we 
exclude them altogether, because all we know of them is, that 
they are usually respectable tradesmen, who wear hats with 
brims inclined to flatness, and who occasionally testify in 
gilt letters on a blue ground, in some conspicuous part of the 
church, to the important fetct of a gallery having been enlarged 
and beautified, or an organ rebuilt. 

The master of the workhouse is not, in our parish — ^nor is 
he usually in any other— one of that class of men the better 
part of whose existence has passed away, and who drag out 
tiie remainder in some inferior situation, with just enough 
thought of the past, to feel degraded by, and discontented 
with, the present. We are unable to guess precisely to our 
own satisfaction what station the man can have occupied 
before; we should think he had been an inferior sort of 
attorney's derk, or else the master of a national school — ^what- 
ever he was, it is dear his present position is a change for the 
better. His income is small certainly, as the rusty black coat 
and threadbare velvet collar demonstrate : but then he lives 
free of house-rent, has a limited allowance of coals and candles, 
and an almost unlimited allowance of authority in his petty 
kingdom. He is a tail, thin, bony man ; always wears shoes 
and black cotton stockings with his sortottt ; and eyes you, as 
yua pass his pailour wkidow, as if he wished you were a 



THB SCHOOLICASTBIL 6 

pauper, just to give you a specimen of his power. He is an 
adnurable specimen of a small tyrant : morose, bmtish, and 
ill-tempered ; bullying to his inferiors, cringing to his supe- 
riors, and jealous of the influence and authority of the beadle. 

Oar schoolmaster is just the very reverse of this amiable 
official. He has been one of those men one occasionalLy hears 
uf, on whom misfortnne seems to have set her mark ; nothing 
he ever did, or was concerned in, appears to have prospered. 
A rich old relation who had brought ^ith up, and openly 
annoimoed his intention of proTiding for him, leffc him 1 0, OOOZ. 
in his will, and revoked the bequest in a codicil. Thus unex- 
pectedly reduced to the necessity of providing for himself, he 
procured a situation in a public office. The young clerks 
below him, died off as if there were a plague among them; 
but the old fellows over his head, for the reversion of whose 
places lie was anzioualy waiting, lived on and on, as if they 
were immortal. He speculated and lost. He speculated 
again, and won — ^but never got his money. His talents were 
great; his disposition, easy, generous, and liberal. Hia 
friends profited by the one, and abused the other. Loss 
succeeded loss; misfortune crowded on misfortnne ; each sue- 
cessive day brought him nearer the verge of hopeless penury, 
and the quondam friends who had been warmest in their pro- 
fessions, grew strangely cold and indifferent. He had children 
whom he loved, and a wife on whom he doted. The former 
tamed their backs on him; the latter died broken-hearted. 
He went with the stream — ^it had ever been his failing, and 
he had not courage sufficient to bear up against so many 
shocks — he had never cared for himself, and the only being 
who had cared for him, in his poverty and distress, was spared 
to him no longer. It was at this period that he applied for 
parochial relief. Some kind-hearted man who had known 
him in happier times, chanced to be churchwarden that year, 
and through his interest he was appointed to his present 
situation. 

He is an old man now. Of the many who once crowded 
round him in all the hollow friendship of boon-companionship, 
some have died, some have MLen like himself some have 
piospered — all have forgotten him. Time and misfortune 
have merdfdlly been permitted to impair his memoiy, and use 
has habituated him to his present condition. Meek, uncom- 
plaining, and xealous in the discharge of his duties, he has 



6 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

h^en allowed to hold his situation long beyond {he usual 
period; and. he will no doubt continue to hold it, until 
infirmity renders him incapable, or death releases him. As 
the grey-headed old man feebly paces up and down the sunny 
fiide of the little court-yard between school hours, it would be 
difficult, indeed, for the most intimate of his former Mends to 
recognise their once gay and happy associate, in the person of 
fke Pauper Schoolmaster. 



CHAPTER 11. 

THX C17BATE. THE OLD LADY. THB HALF-FAT OAFTAIV. 

We commenced our last chapter with the beadle of our pariah, 
because we are deeply sensible of the importance and dignity 
of his office. We will begin the present, with the clergyman. 
Our curate is a yotmg gentleman of such prepossessing appear- 
ance, and fascinating manners, that within one month after his 
first appearance in the parish, half the yotmg-lady inhabitants 
were melancholy with religion, and the other half, desponding 
with love. Never were so many young ladies seen in our 
parish-church . on Sunday before ; and never had the little 
round angek' faces on Mr. Tomkins's monument in the side 
aisle, beheld such devotion on earth as they all exhibited. 
He was about five-and-twenty when he first came to astonish 
the parishioners. He parted his hair on the centre of his 
forehead in. the form of a Norman arch, wore a brilliant of 
the first water on the fourth finger of his lefib hand (which he 
always appHed to his left cheek when he read prayers), and 
had a deep sepulchral voice of unusual solemnity. Innumer- 
able were the calls made by prudent mammas on our new 
curate, and innumerable the invitations with which he was 
itssailed, and which, to do him justice, he readily accepted. 
If his manner in the pulpit had created an impression in his 
favour, the sensation was increased tenfold, by his appearanoe 
in private circles. Pews in the immediate vicinity of the 
pulpit or reading-desk rose in value ; sittmgs in the centre 
aisle were at a premium : an inch of room in the front row of 
>the gallexy could not be procured for love or money ; and 



• THS OITRATB. 7 

fiome people even went so far as to anaeirt, that the three Miss 
Browns, who had an obscure &axdlj pew jnst behind the 
churchwardens', were detected, one Sunday, in the ^e seats 
by the communion-table, actually lying in wait for the curate 
as he passed to the vesby! He began to' preach ertem- 
pore sermons, and even grave papas caught the infection. 
He got out of bed at half-past twelve o'clock one winter's 
night, to half-baptise a washerwoman's child in a slop-basin, 
and the gratitude of the parishioners knew no bounds — ^the 
very churchwardens grew generous, and insisted on the parish 
defraying the expense of the watch-box on wheels which the 
new curate had ordered for himself, to perform the funeral 
service in, in wet weather. He sent three pints of gruel and 
a quarter of a poimd of tea to a poor woman who had been 
brought to bed of four small children, all at once — ^the parish 
Were charmed. He got up a subscription for her — ^the 
woman's fortune was made. He spoke for one hour and 
twenty-five minutes, at an anti-slavery meeting at the Goat 
and Boots — ^the enthusiasm was at its height. A proposal 
was set on fbot for presenting the curate with a piece of plate, 
as a mark of esteem for. his valuable services rendered to the 
parish. The list of subscriptions was filled up in no time ; 
the contest was, not who should escape the contribution, but 
who should be the foremost to subscribe. A splendid silver 
inkstand was made, and engraved with an appropriate inscrip- 
tion; the curate was invited to a public breakfast, at the 
before-mentioned Goat and Boots ; the inkstand was presented 
in a neat speech by Mr. Gubbins, the ex-churchwarden, and 
acknowledged by the curate in terms which drew tears into 
the eyes of all present — the very waiters were melted. 

One would have supposed that, by this time, the theme of 
universal admiration was lifled to the very pinnacle of popu- 
larity. No such thing. The curate began to cough; four 
fits of Qoughing one morning between the Litany and the 
Epistle, and five in the afternoon service. Here was a dis- 
covery — tiiie curate was consumptive. How interestingly 
melancholy ! If the young ladies were energetic before, their . 
sympathy and solicitude now knew no bounds. Such a man 
as the curate — such a dear — such a perfect love — ^to be con'. 
Bumptive ! It was too much. Anonymous presents of black- 
currant jam, and lozenges, elastio waistcoats, bosom friends, 
and warm stookingB, poured in upon the curate until he was 



8 8KBTCHSS BT BOZ. 

as completely fitted out, with winter dothing, as if lie wera 
on the verge of an expedition to the North Pole: verbal 
bnlletins of the state of his health were circulated throughout 
the parish half-a-dozen times a day; and the curate was in 
the very zenith of his populariiy . 

About this period, a change came over the spirit of the 
parish. A very quiet, respectable, dozing old gentleman^ 
who had officiated in our chapel of ease for twelve years 
previously, died one fine morning, without having given any 
notice whatever of his intention. This circumstance gave rise 
to counter-sensation the first ; and the arrival of his successor 
occasioned counter-sensation the second. He was a pale, 
thin, cadaverous man, with laige black eyes, and long strag- 
gling black hair : his dress was slovenly in the extreme, his 
manner ungainly, his doctrines startling ; in short, he was in 
every respect the antipodes of the curate. Crowds of our 
female parishioners flocked to hear him : at first, because he 
was so odd-looking, then because his face was to e^ressive, 
then because he preached so well ; and at last, because they 
really thought that, after all, there was something about him 
whi(di it was quite impossible to describe. As to the curate, 
he was all very well ; but certainly, after all, there was no 
denying that — ^that — ^in short, the curate wasn't a novelty, 
and the other clergyman was. The inconstancy of public 
opinion is proverbial : the congregation migrated one by one. 
Tlie curate coughed till he was black in tihe fiEUse — ^it was in 
vain. He respired with difficulty — ^it was equally ineffectual 
in awakening sympathy. Seats are once again to be had in 
any part of our parish church, and the chapel-of-ease is going 
to be enlarged, as it is crowded to suffocation every Sunday ! 

The best known and most respected among our parishioners, 
is an old lady, who resided in our parish long before our 
name was registered in the list of baptisms. Our parish is a 
suburban one, and the old lady lives in a neat row of houses 
in the most airy and pleasant part of it. The house is her 
own ; and it, and everything about it, except the old lady 
herself, who looks a littie older than she did ten years ago, 
is in just the same state as when the old gentleman was 
living. The little front parlour, which is the old lady's 
urdinary sitting-room, is a perfect picture of quiet neatness : 
the carpet is covered with brown Holland, the glass and 
picture-frames are cazefiilly enveloped in yellow muslin ; the 



THB OLD LADY. f 

table-oorers are never taken oS, except when the leaves axe 
turpentined and bees'vaxed, an operation which is regularly 
commenced every other morning at half-past nine o'clock — 
and the little nionacs are always arranged in precisely the 
same manner. The greater part of Ihese are presents from 
Htde girls whose parents live in the same row ; bat some of 
them, such as the two old fisuhioned watches (which never/ 
keep the same time, one being always a quarter of an hourf 
too slow, and the other a quarter of an hour too fast), the 
Htde picture of the Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold as 
they appeared in the Royal Box at Drury-lane Theatre, and 
others of the same dass, have been in the old lady's possession 
for many years. Here the old lady sits with her spectacles 
on, busily engaged in needlework — near the window in 
summer time ; and if she sees yon coming up the steps, and 
you happen to be a fEivourite, die trots out to open the street 
door for you before you knock, and as you must be fatigued 
after that hot walk, insists on your swallowing two glasses 
of sherry before you exert yourself by talking. If you call 
in the evening you will find her cheerfiil, but rather more 
serious than usual, with an open Bible on the table, before 
her, of which *' Sarah," who is just as neat and methodical as 
her mistress, regularly reads two or three chapters in the 
parlour aloud. 

The old lady sees scarcely any company, except the little 
girls before noticed, each of whom has always a regular fixed 
day for a periodical tea-drinking with her, to which the child 
looks forward as the greatest treat of its existence. She 
seldom visits at a greater distance than the next door but one 
on either side ; and whbn she drinks tea here, Sarah runs out 
first and knocks a double-knock, to prevent Ihe possibility of 
her ** Missis's " catching cold by having to wait at the door. 
She is very scrupulous in returning Ihese little invitations, 
and when she a^ Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so, to meet Mr. and 
Mrs. Somebody-else, Sarah and she dust the urn, and the best 
china tea-service, and the Pope Joan board ; and the visitors 
are received in the drawing-room in great state. She has but 
few relations, and they are scattered about in different parts 
of the country, and she seldom sees them. She has a son in 
India, whom ehe always describes to you as a fine, handsome 
fellow — so like the profile of his poor dear fEither over the 
sideboazdy but the.old lady adds, with a mournful shake of 



-to SKKTOHES B7 BOZ. 

the head, that he haa always been one of her greatest trials, 
and that indeed he onoe almost broke her heart; but it 
pleased God to enable her to get the better of it, and she 
would prefer your never mentioning the subject to her, again. 
She has a great number of poisioners; and on Saturday, after 
she comes back £-om market, there is a regular levee of old 
men and women in the passage, waiting for tiiieir weekly 
gratuity. Her name always heads the list of any benevolent 
subscriptions, and hers are always the most liberal donations 
to the Winter Coal and Soup Distribution Society. She 
subscribed twenfy pounds towards the erection of an organ, in 
our parish churdi, and was so overcome the first Sunday the 
children sang to it, that she was obliged to be carried out by 
the pew-opener. Her entrance into church on Sunday Ib 
always the signal for a little bustle in the side aisle, occasioned 
by a general rise among the poor people, who bow and curtsy 
until the pew-opener has ushered the old lady into her accus- 
tomed seat, dropped a respectful curtsy, and shut the door : 
and the same ceremony is repeated on her leaving church, 
when she walks home with Hie feimily next door but one, and 
talks about the sermon all the way, invariably opening the 
conversation by asking the youngest boy where the text was. 

Thus, with the annual variation of a trip to some quiet 
place on the sea-coast, passes the old lady's life. It has 
rolled on in the same unvaiying and benevolent course for 
many years now, and must at no distant period be brought to 
its final dose. She looks forward to its termination, with 
calmness and without apprehension. She hajs everything to 
hope and nothing to fear. 

A very different personage, but one Vho has rendered him- 
self very conspicuous in our parish, is one of the old lady's 
next door neighbours. He is an old naval oj£cer on half-pay, 
and his bluff and unceremonious behaviour disturbs the old 
lady's domestic economy, not a little. In the first place, he 
vriU smoke cigars in the front court, and when he wants some- 
thing to drink with them — ^which is by no means an un- 
common circumstance — he Hfbs up the old lady's knocker 
with his walking-stick, and demands to have a glass of table 
ale, handed over the rails. In addition to this cool proceed- 
ing, he is a bit of a Jack of all trades, or to use his own 
words, *' A regular Robinson Crusoe ; " and nothing delights 
him better than to experimentalise on the old lady's property. 



/ THB CAPTAIN. il 

One morning he got up early, and planted three or fbiir roots 
of full-grown marigolds in every bed of her front garden, to 
the inconoeivable astonishment of the old lady, who actually 
thought when she got up and looked out of the window, that 
it was some strange eruption which had come out in the 
night. Another time he took to pieces the eight-day dock on 
the front landrog, under pretence of cleaning the works, which 
he pnt together again by some undiscovered process in so 
wonderfril a manner, that the large hand has done nothing 
but trip up the little one ever since. Then he took to breed- 
ing silk- worms, which he would bring in two or three times a 
day, in little paper boxes, to show the old lady, generally 
dropping a worm or two at every visit. The consequence was, 
that one momiug a very stout silk-worm was discovered in the 
act of walking up-stairs — ^probably with Ihe view of inquiring 
after his friends, for, on frirther inspection, it appeared that 
some of his companions had already found their way to every 
room in the house. The old lady went to the sea-side in 
despair, and during her absence he completely effaced the I 
name from her brass door-plate, in his attempts to polish it I 
with aqua-fortis. 

Bat all this is nothing to his seditious conduct in public 
life. He attends every vestry meeting that is held ; always 
opposes the constituted authorities of the parish, denounces 
the profligacy of the churchwardens, contests legal points 
against the vestiy-derk, ioiU make the tar-gaiherer call for 
his money till he wont call any longer, and then he sends it : 
finds fiEtult with the sermon every Sunday, says that the 
organist ought to be ashamed of himself, offers to back him- 
self for any amount to sing the psalms better than all the 
children put together, male and female ,- and, in short, con- 
ducts himself in the most turbulent and uproarious manner. 
The worst of it is, that having a high regard for the old lady, 
he wants to make her a convert to his views, and therefore 
walks into her little parlour with his newspaper in his hand, 
and talks violent politics by the hour. He is a charitable, 
open-hearted old fellow at bottom, after all ; so, although he 
puts the old lady a little out occasionally, they agree very 
well in the main, and she laughs as much at each feat of hiA 
handiwork when it is all over, as anybody else. 



U 8EBT0HBS BY BOZ. 



CHAPTER m. 

THB FOUB 8IBTSB8. 



The row of houses in which, the old lady and her trouble^ 
some neighbour reside, comprises, beyond all doubt, a greater 
number of characters within its circumscribed limits, than all 
the rest of the parish put together. As we cannot, con- 
sistently with our present plan, however, extend the number 
of our parochial sketches beyond six, it wiU be better, perhaps, 
to select the most peculiar, and to introduce them at once 
without further preface. 

The four Miss Willises, then, setfled in our parish thirteen 
years ago. It is a melancholy reflection that the old adage, 
" time and tide wait for no man," applies with equal force to 
the fairer portion of the creation ; and willingly would wa 
conceal the fact, that even thirteen years ago, the Miss 

I Willises were far from juyenile. 'Our duty as Mthfiil 
parochial chroniclers^ however, is paramount to every other 
consideration, and we are bound to state, that thirtoen yearn 
since, the authorities in matrimonial cases considered the 
youngest Miss Willis in a very precarious state, while the 
eldest sister was positively given over, as being far beyond all 
human hope. Well, the Miss Willises took a lease of the 
house ; it was fresh painted and papered fr^m top to bottom : 
the paint inside was all wainscoted, the marble all cleaned, 
the old grates taken down, and register-stoves, you could see 
to dress by, put up; four trees were planted in the back 
garden, several small baskets of gravel sprinkled over the 
front one, vans of elegant furniture arrived, spring blinds 
were fitted to the windows, carpenters who had been em- 
ployed in the various preparations, alterations, and repairs, 
made confidential statements to the different maid-servants in 
the row, relative to the magnificent scale on which the Miss 
Willises were commencing; the maid-servants told their 
"Missises," the Missises told their friends, and vague rumours 
were circulated throughout the parish, that No. 25, in Gordon- 
place, had been taken by four maiden ladies of immense jiroperty. 
At last, the Miss Willises moved in; and then the " call- 



THB pons SISTBBa 18"^ 

ing" b^^. The house was tiiie peirfection of neataess — so 
were the four Miss Willises. Every thing was formal, stiff, \ 
and cold — so were the four Miss Willises. Not a single ohair ' 
of the whole set was ever seen out of its place— not a single 
Miss Willis of the whole four was ever seen out of hers. 
There they always sat, in the same places, doing precisely the 
same things at tiiie same hour. The eldest Miss Willis used 
to knit, the second to draw, tiiie two others to play duets on 
the piano. They seemed to have no sep.a i y.tft eTiy^ yiTfig^ but \ 
to have made up their minds just to winter through life \ 
together. They were three long graces in drapery, with the i 
addition, like a school-dinner of another long grace afterwards 
—the three fates with another sister — ^tibie Siamese twins 
multiplied by two. The eldest Miss Willis grew bilious — ^the 
fbur Miss Willises grew bilious immediately. The eldest 
Miss Willis grew ill-tempered and religious — ^the four Miss 
Willises were ill-tempered and religious directly. Whatever 
the eldest did, the others did, and whatever any body else did, 
they all disapproved of; and thus they vegetated — ^living in 
Polar harmony among themselves, and, as they sometimes 
went out, or saw company ''in a quiet-way" at home, 
occasionally iceing tiiie neighbours. Three years passed over 
in this way, when an unlocked for and extraordinary pheno- 
menon occurred. The Miss Willises showed symptoms of 
summer, the frost gradually broke up ; a complete thaw took 
place. Was it possible ? one of the four Miss Willises was 
going to be married ! 

Now, where on earth the husband came from, by what 
feelings the poor man could have been actuated, or by what 
process of reasoning the four Miss Willises succeeded in 
persuading themselves that it was possible for a man to marry 
one of them, without marrying them all, are questions too 
profound for us to resolve : certain it is, however, thaf the 
visits of Mr. Bobinson (a gentleman in a public office, with a 
good salary and a little property of his own, beside) were 
received — ^that the four Miss Willises were courted in due 
form by the said Mr. Robinson — ^tiiiat the neighbours were 
perfectly frantic in their anxiety to discover which of the four 
Miss Willises was the fortunate fair, and that the difficulty 
they experienced in solving the problem was not at all 
ksseaed by the announcement of tiie eldest Miss WiHiBy— 
' We are going to marry Mr. Bobinson." 



M 8KBT0HBS B7 BOZ« 

It was Tery extraordinaiy. They were so completely 
\ identified^ the one with the other, that the onriosity of the 
Whole row — even of the old lady herseK — was roused almost 
jbeyond endurance. The subject was discussed at every litde 
card-table and tea-drinking. The old gentleman of silk-worm 
notoriety did not hesitate to express his decided opinion that 
Mr. Robinson was of Eastern descent, and contemplated 
marrying the whole fanuly at once ; and the row, generally, 
shook their heads with considerable gravity, and declared the 
business to be ver^ mysterious. They hoped it might all end 
well ; — ^it certainly had a very singular appearance, but stiU 
it would be imchaxitable to express any opinion without good 
grounds to go upon, and certainly die Miss Willises were 
fuite old enough to judge for themselves, and to be sure 
people ought to know their own business best, and so forth. 

At last, one fine morning, at a quarter before eight o'clock, 
A.M., two glass-coaches drove up to the Miss Willises' door at 
which Mr. Robinson had arrived in a cab ten minutes before^ 
dressed in a light blue coat and double-milled kersey panta- 
loons, white neckerchief, pumps, and dress-gloves, his manner 
denoting, as appeared ^om the evidence of the housemaid at 
No. 23, who waa sweeping the door-steps at the time, a con- 
siderable degree of nervous excitement. It was also hastily 
reported on the same testimony, that the cook who opened the 
door, wore a large white bow of unusual dimensions, in a much 
smarter head-dress than the regulation cap to which the Miss 
WiUises invariably restricted the somewhat excursive taste of 
female servants in general. 

The intelligence spread rapidly £rom house to house. It 
was quite dear that the eventful morning hiid at length 
arrived ; the whole row stationed themselves behind their first 
and second floor blinds, and waited the result in breathless 
exp^itation. 

At last the Miss Willises' door opened; the door of the 
first glass-coach did the same. Two gentlemen and a pair of 
ladies to correspond — ^Mends of the family, no doubt; up 
went the steps, bang went the door, off went the first glass- 
coach, and up came the second. 

The street-door opened again ; the excitement of the whole 
row increased — Mr. Robinson and the eldest Mias Willis. '* I 
thought so," said the lady at No. 19 ; ''I always said it was^ 
Miss Willis ! " — " Well, I never ! " ejacidated tlie young lady 



7HB FOUB 8ISTBB9. Iff 

at No. 18" to the young lady at No. 17 — "Did you eveif, 
dear!" responded the young lady at No. 17 to the young 
lady at No. 1 8. " It 's too ridiculous ! '' exelaimed a spinsteir 
of an uncertain age, at No. 16, joining in the conversatioik 
But who shall pourtray the astonishment of Gordon-place, 
when Mr. Bobinson handed in all the Miss Willises, one after 
the other, and then squeezed himself into an acute angle of 
the glass-coach, which forthwith proceeded at a brisk pace, 
after the other glass-coach, which other gkss-coach hdSl itself 
proceeded, at a brisk pace, in the direction of the pariah 
church. Who shall depict the perplexity of the clergyman^ 
when all the Miss Willises knelt down at the commimion 
table, and repeated the responses incidental to the marriage 
service in an audible voice— or who shall describe the con- 
fusion which prevailed, when-— even after the dif&culties thus 
occasioned had been adjusted — all the Miss \yillises went into 
hysterics at the conclusion of the ceremony, until the sacred 
edifice resounded with their imited wailings I 

As the four sisters and Mr. Robinson continued to occupy 
the same house after this memorable occasion, and as tihe 
married sister, whoever she was, never appeared in public 
without the other three, we are not quite dear that the neigh- 
bours ever would have discovered the real Mrs« Robinson, but 
for a circumstance of the most gratifying description, which 
trill happen occasionally in the best-regulated families. Three 
quarter-days elapsed, and the row, on whom a new light 
appeared to have been bursting for some time,^ began to speak 
with a sort of implied confidence on the subject, and to wonder 
how Mrs. Robinson — ^the youngest Miss Willis that was — ^got 
on ; and servants might be seen running up the steps, about 
nine or ten o'clock every morning, with ''Missis's compli- 
ments, and wishes to know how Mrs. Robinson finds herself 
this morning ? " And the answer always was, '' Mrs. R^iu- 
son's compliments, and she 's in very good spirits, and doesn't 
find herself any worse." The piano was heard no longer, the 
knitting-needles were laid aside, drawing was neglected, and 
mantua-making and millinery, on the smalleet scale imagiuablei 
appeared to have become the favourite amusement of the whole 
family. The parlour wasn't quite as tidy as it used to be, and 
if you called in the morning, you would see lying on a table, 
with an old newspaper carelessly thrown over them, two or 
three particularly small caps, ra^er larger than if they had 



16 8EST0HBS BT BOZ. 

been made for a moderate-sized doll, with a small piece of lace, 
in the shape of a horse-shoe, let in behind : or perhaps a 
white robe, not very large in ciroumferenoe, but veiy much 
out of proportion in point of length, with a little tucker round 
the top, and a £nll round the bottom; and once -when we 
called, we saw a long white roller, with a kind of blue margin 
down each side, the probable use of which, we were at a loss 
to conjecture. Then we fancied that Mr. Dawson, the surgeon, 
&c., who displays a large lamp with a different colour in eyery 
pane of glass, at the comer of the row, began to be knocked 
up at night oftener than he used to *be ; and once we were 
very much alarmed by hearing a hackney-coach stop at Mrs. 
Robinson's door, at half-past two o'clock in the morning, out 
of which there emerged a fat old woman, in a doak and night- 
cap, with a bundle in one hand, and a pair of pattens in the 
other, who looked as if she had been suddenly knocked up out 
of bed for some yery special purpose. 

When we got up in the morning we saw that the knocker 
was tied up in an old white kid gloye; and we, in our 
innocence (we were in a state of bachdorship then), wondered 
what on earth it all meant, until we heard the eldest MIbs 
WiUis^ in proprid persona, say, with great dignify, in answer 
to tiiie next inquiry, " My compliments, and Mrs. Robinson *b 
doing as well as can be expected, and the little girl thriyes 
wonderfully." And then, in common with the rest of the row, 
our curioeify was satisfied, and we began to wonder it had 
neyer occurred to us what tlie matter was, before. 



CHAPTER IV. 

TUB ELKOTIOir FOB BIADUL 



A QSEAT event has recently occurred in our parish. A 
contest of paramount interest has just terminated ; a parochial 
conyulfiion has taken place. It has been succeeded by a 
glorious triumph, which the countiy — or at least the parish — 
it is all the same — will long rememb^. We have had an 
deotion ; an election Ibr beadle. The supporters of the <Ad 
beadle system have beem defeated in their stronghold, and I3i6 



THB BLBCTION FOR BBADLB. 17 

advocates of the great new beadle prixudples kave adiieTed a 
prcmd Tictoiy. 

Our paiieh, whieh, like all other pariahes, is a little world 
of its own, has long been divided into two parties, whose con- 
tentions, dumbering for a while, have never ^Etiled to burst 
forth with unabated vigour, on any oocasion on which they 
oould by possibiliiy be renewed. Watching-rates, lighting- 
rates, paving-rates, sewers'-rates, church-rates, poor's-rates — 
all sorts of rates, have been in their turns the subjects of a 
grand struggle ; and as to questions of patronage, the asperity 
and determinaticnL with which they have been contested is 
scarcely credible. 

The leader of the oflfioial par<y — i^e steady advocate of the 
churchwardens, and the unflinching supporter of the overseers 
— ^is an old gentleman who lives in our row. He owns some 
half-dosen houses in it, and always walks on the opposite side 
of the way, so that he may be able to take in a view of the 
whole of his p roperty at once. He is a tall, thin, bony man, 
with an intenogative nose, and little restless perking eyes, 
which appear to have been given him for the sole purpose 
of peeping into other people's affairs with. He is deeply 
impressed with the importance of our parish busineas, and 
prides himself, not a little, on his style of addressing the 
pariahioners in vestry assembled. His views are rather con- 
fined than extensive ; his principles more narrow than liberaL 
He has been heard to dedaim very loudly in fEivour of the 
liberty of the press, and advocates the repeal of the stamp 
duty on newspapers, because the daily journals who now have 
a monopoly of the public, never give verbatim reports of vestry 
meetings. He would not appear egotistical for the world, but at 
the same time he must say, that there are speeches — that cele- 
brated speech of his own, on the emoluments of the sexton, and 
the duties of the office, for instance — ^which might be communi- 
cated to the public, greatly to their improvement and advantage. 

'His great opponent in public life is Captain Purday, the old 
naval officer on half-pay, to whom we have already introduced 
our readers. The captain being a determined opponent of the 
oonstitnted authorities, whoever they may chance to be, and 
our other friend being their steady supporter, with a^^fiquid 
dime gard of their indm dualmOTits. it will readily be supposed, 
that occasions for their coming inlo direct coUiaioii are neither 
few nor &r between. They divided the vestry fimrteen times 





18 8KBTCHBS BT fiOS. 

cm a mbtkm fbt heatixig the church with warm Water instead 
of coals ; and made speeches about liberty and expenditure, 
and prodigality and hot water, which threw the whole parish 
into a state of excitement* Then the captain, when he was on 
the yisiting committee, and his opponent OTerseer, brought 
forward certain distinct and specific charges relatiye to the 
management of tiiie workhouse, boldly expressed his total want 
of confidence in the existing authorities, and moved for " a 
copy of the recipe by which the paupers' soup was prepared^ 
together with any documents relating thereto.'' This the 
OYcrseer steadily resisted ; he fortified himself by precedent, 
appealed to the established usage, and declined to produce the 
papers, on the ground of the injury that would be done to the 
public service, if documents of a strictly private nature, pass* 
ing between the master of the workhouse and the cook, were 
to be thus dragged to light on the motion of any individual 
member of the vestiy. The motion was lost by a majority of 
two ; and then the captain, who never allows himself to be 
defeated, moved for a committee of inquiry into the whole 
subject. The affiedr grew serious : the question was discussed 
at meeting after meeting, and vestry after vestry; speeches 
were made, attacks repudiated, personal defiances exchanged, 
explanations received, and the greatest excitement prevailed, 
imtil at last, just as the question was going to be finally 
decided, the vestry found that somehow or other, they had 
become entangled in a point of form, 6om which it was 
impossible to escape with propriety. So, the motion was 
dropped, and every body looked extremely important, and 
seemed quite satisfied with the meritorious nature c^ the 
whole proceeding. 

This was the state of affiurs in our pariah a week or two 
since, when Simmons, the beadle, suddenly died. The 
lamented deceased had over-exerted himself, a day or two 
previously, in conveying an aged female, highly intoxicated, 
to the strong room of the workhouse. The excitement thus 
occasioned, added to a severe cold, which this indefatigable 
eSGjoeir had caught in his capacity of director of the parish 
'^ engine, by inadvertently playing over himself instead of a fire, 
proved too much for a constitution already enfeebled by agd; 
and the- intelligence was conveyed to the Board one evening 
that Simmons hiEul died, and left his respects. 

The bareathvwas acazoely out of the body of the deceased 



THB BLBCTION FOE BBADLB. Id 

fancAcfnaary, when the field was filled wiih oompetitoTS for the 
Tacant office^ each of whom rested his dauns to public support^ 
entirelj on the number and extent of his fJEunilj, as if the 
office of beadle were originally instituted as an encouragement 
for the propagation of ^e human species. " Bung for Beadle. 
Five small children ! " — " Hopkins for Beadle. Seyen small 
children!!" — " Timkins for Beadle. Nine small children!!!'' 
Such were the placards in large black letters on a white 
ground, which were plentifully pasted on the walls, and 
posted in the windows of the principal shops. Timkins's 
soooess was considered certain: several mothers of families 
half promised their votes, and the nine small children would 
have run over the course, but for the production of another 
placard, announcing the appearance of a stOl more meritorious 
candidate. ** Sproggins for Beadle. Ten small children (two 
of them twins), and a wife ! ! ! " There was no resistmg this ; 
ten small children would have been almost irresistible in 
themselves, without the twins, but the touching parenthesLs 
about that interesting production of natore, and the still more 
touching allusion to Mrs. Spruggins, must ensure success. 
Spruggins was the favourite at once, and the appearance of hie 
lady, as she went about to solicit votes (which encouraged\ 
confident hopes of a stiU further addition to the house of « 
Spruggins at no remote period), increased the general pre- 
possession in his fEkvour. The other candidates, Bung alone 
excepted, resigned in despair. The day of election was fixed; 
and the canvass proceeded with briskness and perseverance on 
both aides. 

The members of the vestry could not be supposed to escape 
the contagious excitement inseparable from the occasion. The 
majority of the lady inhabitants of the parish declared at once 
for Spruggins ; and the quondam overseer took the same side, 
on the ground that men with large families always had been 
elected to the office, and that although he must admit, that, in 
other respects, Spruggins was the least-qualified candidate of 
the two, still it was an old practice, and he saw no reason why 
an old practice should be departed from. This was enough 
for the captain. He immediately sided with Bung, canvassed 
for him personally in all directions, wrote squibs on Spruggins, 
Kind got his butcher to skewer them up on conspicuous joints in 
his shop-front; frightened his neighbour, the old lady, into 
a palpitation of the heart| by his awfril denunciations of 



20 8EBTK?HB3 BT BOZ. 

SprtLggins's party; and bounced in and out, and up and down, 
and backwards and forwardSy until all the sober inhabitants 
of the parish thought it inevitable that he must die of » brain 
fever, long before the election began. / 

The dav of election arrivedy^ It was no longer/«ii individual 
struggle, /but It party contest/lbetween the ins and outs. The 
question was, whether the withering influence of the overseers, 
the domination of the churchwardens, and the blighting des- 
potism of the vestry-clerk, should be allowed to render the 
election of beadle a form — a nullity: whether they should 
impose a vestry-elected beadle on the parish, to do their 
bidding and forward their views, or whether the parishioners, 
fearlessly asserting their undoubted rights, should elect an 
independent beadle of their own. 

The nomination was fixed to take place in the vestiy, but so 
great was the throng of anxious spectators, that it was found 
necessary to adjourn to the church, where the ceremony com- 
menced with due solemnity. The appearance of the church- 
wardens and overseers, and the ex-churchwardens, and 
ex-overseers, with Spruggins in the rear, excited general 
attention. Spruggins was a little thin man, in rusty black, 
with a long pale £ace, and a countenance expressive of care 
and fatigue, which might either be attributed to the extent of 
his family or the anxiety of his feelings. His opponent 
appeared in a cast-off coat of the captain's — a blue coat with 
bright buttons : white trousers, and that description of shoes 
flEtmiliarly known by the appellation of " high-lows." There 
was a serenity in the open countenance of Bung — a kind of 
moral dignity in his confident air — an *' I wish you may get 
it '' sort of expression in his eye— which infUsed animatioix 
into his supporters, and evidently dispirited his opponents. 

The ex-churchwardon rose to propose Thomas Spruggins for 
beadle. He had known him long. He had had his eye upon 
him dosely for years; he had watched him with twofold 
vigilance for months. (A parishioner here suggested that this 
might be termed " taking a double sight/' but the observation 
was drowned in loud cries of " Order ! **) He would repeat 
that he had had his eye upon him for years, and this he would 
say, that a more well-conducted, a more well-behaved, a more 
sober, a more quiet man, with a more well-regulated mind he 
had never met with. A man with a larger family he had 
never known (cheers). The parish required a man who could 



THB BLBCmON FOB BBADLR. 21 

be depended on (" Hear I " from the Spraggins side, axuaiwered 
by ironical cheers from the Bimg x>ar<7). Such a man he now 
proposed (**No," "Yes"). He would not aUude to indi- 
Tiduals (the ez-chiirchwarden continued, in the celebrated 
negative style adopted by great speakers). He would not 
advert to a gentleman who had once held a high rank in the 
service of his majesty ; he would not say, that that gentleman 
was no gentleman ; he would not assert, that that man wajs no 
man; he would not say, that he was a turbulent parishioner ; 
he would not say, that he had grossly misbehaved himself, not 
only on this, but on all former occasions ; he would not say, 
that he was one of those discontented and treasonable spirits, 
who carried confusion and disorder wherever they went ; he 
would not say, that he harboured in his heart envy, and hatred, 
and malice, and aU uncharitableness. No! He wished to 
have everything comfortable and pleasant, and therefore, he 
would say — ^nothing about him (cheers). 

The captain replied in a similar parliamentaiy style. He 
would not say, he was astonished at the speech they had just 
heard; he would not say, he was disgusted (cheers). He 
would not retort the epithets which had been hurled against 
him (renewed cheering) ; he would not allude to men once in 
office, but now happily out of it, who had mismanaged the 
workhouse, ground the paupers, diluted the beer, slack-baked 
the bread, boned the meat, heightened the work, and lowered 
the soup (tremendous cheers). He would not ask what such 
men deserved (a voice "Nothing arday, and find themselves P'). 
He would not say, that one burst of general indignation should 
drive them from the parish they polluted with their presence 
("Give it him!"). He would not allude to the unfortunate 
man who had becai proposed — ^he would not say, as the vestry's 
tool, but as Beadle. He would not advert to that individual's 
^Etmily; he would not say, that nine children, twins, and a 
wife, were very bad examples for pauper imitation (loud 
cheers). He would not advert in detail to the qualifications 
of Bung. The man stood before him, and he would not say 
in his presence, what he might be disposed to say of hitn if 
he were absent. (Here Mr. Bung telegraphed to a friend 
near him, under cover of his hat» by contracting his left eye, 
and applying his right thumb to the tip of his nose.) It had 
been objected to Bung that he had only five children (" Hear, 
hear ! ": from the opposition). Well; he had yet to leazn that 



S2 8EBTCHES BY BOZ. 

the legislature had affixed any precise amount of in&ntuie 
qualification to the office of beadle ; but taking it for granted 
that an extensive family were a great requisite, he entreated 
them to look to £icts, and compare data, about which there 
could be no mistake. Bung was 35 years of age. Spruggins 
— of whom he wished to speak with all possible respect 
— ^was 60. Was it not more than possible— was it not veiy 
probable — ^that by the time Bung attained the latter age,^ 
he might see around him a fknuly, even exceeding in number 
and extent that to which Spruggins at present laid claim 
(deafening cheers and waving of handkerchiefs) ? The captain 
concluded, amidst loud applause, by calling upon the parishi- 
oners to sound the tocsin, rush to the poU^ fi^ee themselves 
from dictation, or be slaves for ever. 

On the following day the polling began, and we never have 
had such a buirtle in our parish since we got up our &mous 
anti-slavery petition, which was such an important one, that 
the House of Commons ordered it to be printed, on the motion 
of the member for the district. The captain engaged two 
hackney-coaches and a cab for Bung's people— the cab for the 
drunken voters, and the two c6aches for the old ladies, the 
greater portion of whom, owing to the captain's impetuosity, 
were driven up to the poll and home again, before they 
recovered from their flurry sufficiently to know, with any 
degree of clearness, what they had been doing. The opposite 
party wholly neglected these precautions, and the consequence 
was, that a great many ladies who weriB walking leisurely up 
to the church — ^for it was a very hot day — to vote for Sprug- 
gins, were artfrdly decoyed into the coaches, and voted for 
Bimg. The captain's ai^^uments, too, had produced consider- 
able effect : the attempted influence of the vestry produced a 
greater. A threat of exclusive dealing was clearly established 
against the vestry-clerk — a case of heartless and profligate 
atrocity. It appeared that the delinquent had been in the 
habit of purchasing six penn'orth of mufl^, weekly, from an 
old woman who rents a small house in the parish, and resides 
among the original settlers; on her last weddy visit, a 
message was conveyed to her through the medium of the oook, 
couched in mysterious terms, but indicating with sufficient 
clearness, that the vestry-clerk's appetite for muffins, in frLtore, 
depended entirely on her vote on the beadleship. This was 
sufficient: the stream had been taming previously, and the 




ir-WoW*^- 



THB BBOKBa*S ICAN. ^8 

impiilae thus admiiiistered directed its fin^ The Bung: 

party ordered one shilling's-worth of muflins weekly for the 
lemainder of the old woman's natural life; the parishioners 
were loud in their exclamations ; and the fate oi Spruggins 
was sealed. 

It was in vain that the twins were exhibited in dresses of 
the same pattern, and night-caps to match, at the church 
door : the boy in Mrs. Spruggins's right arm, and the girl in 
ier left — even Mrs. Spruggins herself feiled to be an object 
of sympathy any longer. The majority attained by Bung on 
Ae gross poll was four hundred and twenly-eight, and the 
cause of the parishioners triumphed. 



CHATTER V. 



VHI BBOKSB'S HAS, 



The excitement of tiie late election has subsided, and our 
parish being once again restored to a state of oomparatiye 
tranquillily , we are enabled to devote our attention to those 
parishioners who take little share in our party contests or in 
the turmoil and bustle of public life. And we feel sincere 
pleasure in acknowledging here, that in collecting materials 
for this task we have been greaHy assisted by Mr. Bung him- 
self, who has imposed on us a debt of obligation which we 
fear we can never repay. The life of this gentleman has been 
one of a very chequsffed description : he has imdergone trans- 
itions — not from grave to gay, for he never was grave— not 
from lively to severe, for severity forms no part of his 
disposition ; his fluctuations have been between poverty in the 
extreme, and poverty modified, or, to use his own emphatic 
language, ''between nothing to eat and just half enough." 
He is not, as he forcibly remarks, " One of those fortunate 
men who, if they were to dive under one side of a barge 
stark-naked, would come up on the other with a new suit of 
clothes on, and a ticket for soup in the waistcoat-pocket : *\ 
neither is .he one of those, whose spirit has been broken 
beyond redemption by misfortune and want. He is just one 
of the careless, good-for-nothing, happy feUows^ who float, 



24 8EBT0HBS BT BQZ. 

«ork-like on the surface, for the world to play at hockey with: 
knocked here, and there, and every where : now to the right, 
then to the lefib, again up in the air, and anon to the bottom, 
bnt always re-appearing and bounding with the stream 
buoyantly and merrily along. Some few months before he 
was prevailed upon to stand a contested election for the office 
of beadle, necessity attached him to the service of a broker; 
and on the opportunities he here acquired of ascertaining the 
condition of most of the poorer inhabitants of the parish^ his 
patron, the captain, first grounded his claims to public support 
Chance threw the man in our way a short time since. We 
were, in the first instance, attrad;ed by his prepossessing 
impudence at the election ; we were not surprised, on further 
acquaintance, to find him a shrewd knowing fellow, with no 
inconsiderable power of observation; and, after conversing 
with him a little, were somewhat struck (as we dare say our 
readers have frequently been in other cases) with the power 
some men seem to have, not only of sympathising with, but 
to all appearance of understanding feelings to which they 
themselves are entire strangers. We had been expressing to 
the new functionary our surprise that he should ever have 
served in the capacity to which we have just adverted, when 
we gradually led him into one or two professional anecdotes. 
As we are induced to think, on reflection, that they will tell 
better in nearly his own words, than with any attempted 
embeUishments of ours, we will at once entitle them 

MR. BUNG'S NARRATIVE. 

"It's very true, as you say, sir," Mr. Bung commenced, 
"that a broker's man's is not a Ufe to be envied; and in 
course you know as well as I do, though you don't say it, that 
people hate and scout 'em because they 're the ministers of 
wretchedness, like, to poor people. But what could I do, sir ? 
The thing was no worse beoEtuse I did it, instead of somebody 
else ; and if putting me in possession of a house would put 
me in possession of three and sixpence a day, and levying a 
distress on another man's goods would relieve my distress and 
that of my family, it can't be expected but what I !d take the 
job and go through with it. I never liked it, God knows ; ' I 
always looked out for something else, and the moment I got 
other work to do, I left it. If there is anything wrong in 



THS BBOEBR'S MAN. 25 

bemg the agent in subh matters — ^not the principaly mind yoa 
— ^I 'm sore the bnsineBs, to a b^finner like I was, at all 
events, carriee its own punishment along with it. I wished 
again and again that the people would only blow me up, or 
pitch into me— that I wouldn't have minded, it 's all in my 
way ; but it 's the being shut up by yourself in one room for 
five days, without so much as an old newspaper to look at, or 
anything to see out o' the winder but the roofs and chimneys 
at the back of the house, or anything to listen to, but the 
ticking, perhaps, of an old Dutch dock, the sobbing of the 
missis, now and then, the low talking of friends in the next 
room, who speak in whispers, lest ' the man ' should overhear 
them, or perhaps the occasional opening of the door, as a 
child peeps in to look at you, and then runs half-frightened 
away — It 's all this, that makes you feel sneaking somehow, 
and ashamed of yourself; and then, if it 's winter time, they 
jnst give you fire enough to make you think you 'd like more, 
and bring in your grub as if they wished it 'ud choke you — 
as I dare say they do, for the matter of that, most heartily. 
If they 're very dvil, they make you up a bed in the room at 
night, and if they don't, your master sends one in for you ; 
but iliere you are, without being washed or shaved aU the 
time, shunned by everybody, and spoken to by no one, unless 
some one comes in at dinner time, and asks you whether you 
want any more, in a tone as much as to say ' I hope you 
don't,' or, in the evening, to inquire whether you wouldn't 
rather have a candle, after you 've been sitting in the dark half 
the night. When I was left in this way, I used to sit, think, 
think, thinking, till I felt as lonesome as a kitten in a wash- 
house copper with the lid on ; but I believe the old brokers' 
men who are regularly trained to it, never think at all. I have 
heard some on 'em say, indeed, that they don't know how ! 

" I put in a good many distresses in my time (continued 
Mr. Bung), and in course I wasn't long in finding, that some 
people are not as much te be pitied as others are, and that 
people with good incomes who get into difi&culties, which they 
keep patching up day after day, and week after week, get so 
used to these sort of things in time, that at last they come 
scarcely to feel them at alL I remember the very first place 
I was put in possession of, was a gentleman's house in this 
parish here, that every body would suppose couldn't help 
having monej if he tried. I went with old Fixem, my old 



2« SKBTCHBS BY BOZ. 

master, 'bout half artor eight in the morning ; rang the area- 
bell ; seryant in liveiy opened the door : ' GoTemor at home?' 
— ' Yes, he is,' says the man ; ' but he 's breakfasting jnst 
now.' ' Never mind,' says Fizem, 'just you tell him there's 
a gentleman here, as wants to speak to him partidder.' So 
the servant he opens his eyes, and stares about him always — 
looking for the gentleman as it struck me, for I don't think 
anybody but a man as was stone-blind would mistake Fizem 
for one; and as for me, I was as seedy as a cheap oowcumber. 
Hows'ever, he tarns round, and goes to the breakfast-parlour, 
which was a little snug sort of room at the end of the passage, 
and Fizem (as we always did in that profession), without 
waiting to be announced, walks in artor him, and before the 
servant could get out — ' Please, sir, here 's a man as wants to 
speak to you,' looks in at the door as familiar and pleasant as 
may be. ' Who the devil are you, and how dare you walk 
into a gentleman's house without leave ? ' says the master, as 
fierce as a bull in fits. * My name,' says Fizem, winking to 
the master to send the servant away, and putting the warrant 
into his hands folded up like a note, ' My name 's Smith,' says 
he, 'and I called firom Johnson's about that business of 
Thompson's' — 'Oh,' says the other, quite down on him 
directly, ' How t* Thompson ? ' says he ; ' Pray sit down, Mr. 
Smiih : John, leave the room.' Out went the servant ; and 
the gentleman and Fizem looked at one another till they 
couldn't look any longer, and then they varied the amusements 
by looking at me, who had been standing on the mat all this 
time. ' Hundred and fifty pounds, I see,' said the gentleman 
at last ' Hundred and fifty pound,' said Fizem, * besides cost 
of levy, sheriff's poundage, and all other incidental ezpenses.' 
•— ' Um,' says the gentleman, ' I shan't be able to settle this 
before to-moxrow afternoon.' — 'Very sony; but I shall be 
obliged to leave my man here till then,' replies Fizem, 
pretending to look very miserable over it. 'That's veiy 
unfbrt'nate,' says the gentleman, ' for I have got a large party 
here to-night, and I 'm ruined if those fellows of mine get an 
inkling of the matter — just step here, Mr. Smith,' says he, 
after a short pause. So Fizem walks with him up to the 
window, and after a good deal of whispering, and a little 
chinking of suverins, and looking at me, he comes back and 
says, * Bung, you 're a handy fellow, and very honest I know. 
This gentleman wants an assistant to dean the plate and wait 



THK BBOEBR'S MAN. 27 

&t table ixhd&j, and if jou 're not particularly engaged/ says 
old Fixem, grinning like mad, and shoying a couple of suyerins 
into my hand, ^ he 'U be yery glad to ayail himself of your 
seryioes.' Well, I laughed : and the gentleman laughed, and 
ve all laughed ; and I went home and cleaned myself, leaying 
Fizem there, and when I went back, Fixem went away, and 
I polished up the plate, and waited at table, and gammoned 
the seryants, and nobody had the least idea I was in possession, 
though it yery nearly came out after all ; for one of the last 
gentlemen who remained, came down stairs into the hall 
where I was sitting pretty late at night, and putting half-a- 
crown into my hand, says, ' Here my man,' says he, ' run and 
get me a coadi, will you ? ' I thought it was a do, to get me 
out of the house, and was just going to say so, sulkily enough, 
when the gentleman (who was up to eyerything) came running 
down stairs, as if he was in great anxiety. ' Bung,' says he, 
pretending to be in a consuming passion. 'Sir,' says I. 
' Why the deyll an't you looking after that plate ? ' — ' I was 
just going to send him for a coach for me,' says the other 
gentleman. ' And I was just a going to say,' says I — ' Any 
body else, my dear fellow,' interrupts the master of the house, 
pushing me down the passage to get out of the way — * any 
body else ; but I haye put this man in possession of all the 
plate and yaluables, and I cannot allow him on any con- 
sideration whateyer, to leaye the house. Bung, you scoundrel, 
go and count those forks in the breakfast-parlour instantly.' 
Ton may be sure I went laughing pretty hearty when I found 
it was aU right. The money was paid next day, with the 
addition of something else for myself, and that was the best 
job that I (and I suspect old Fixem too) eyer got in that line. 
** But this is the bright side of the picture, sir, after all," 
resumed Mr. Bung, laying aside the knowing look, and flash 
air, with which he had repeated the preyious anecdote— ''and 
I 'm sorry to say, it 's the side one sees yery, yery, seldom, in 
comparison with the dark one. The ciyilily which money will 
purchase, is rarely extended to those who haye none; and 
there's a consolation eyen in being able to patch up one 
difficulty, to make way for another, to which yeiy poor people 
are strangers. I was once put into a house down George's- 
yard — ^that little dirty court at the back of the gas-works ; 
and I neyer shall forget the misery of them people, dear me ! 
It was a distress for half a year's rent — ^two pound ten I think. 



28 SKBTGHBS B7 BOZ. 

There was only two rooms in the house, aad as there was no 
passage, the lodgers up-stairs always went through the room 
of the people of the house, as they passed in and out ; and 
every time they did so — ^which, on the average, was about 
four times every quarter of an hour — they blowed up quite 
frightful : for Uieir things had been seized too, and included 
in the inventory. There was a little piece of inclosed dust in 
front of the house, with a cinder-path leading up to the door, 
and an open rain-water butt on one side. A dirty striped 
curtain, on a very slack string, hung in the window, and a 
little triangular bit of broken looking-glass rested on the sill 
inside. I suppose it. was meant for the people's use, but their 
appearance was so wretched, and so miserable, that I 'm certain 
they never could have plucked up courage to look themselves 
in the face a second time, if they survived the fright of doing 
so once. There was two or three chairs, that might have 
been worth, in their best days, from eightpence to a shilling 
a-piece; a small deal table, an old comer cupboard with 
nothing in it, and one of those bedsteads which turn up half 
way, and leave the bottom legs sticking out for you to knock 
your head against, or haog your hat upon ; no bed, no 
bedding. There was an old sack, by way of rug, before the 
fire-place, and four or five children were grovelling about, 
among the sand on the floor. The execution was only put in 
to get 'em out of the house, for there was nothing to take to 
pay the expenses ; and here I stopped for three days, though 
that was a mere form too : for, in course, I knew, and we all 
knew, they could never pay the money. In one of the chairs, 
by .the side of the place where the fire ought to have been, 
was an old 'ooman — ^the ugliest and dirtiest I ever see— who 
sat rocking herself backwards and forwards, backwards and 
forwards, without once stopping, except for an instant now 
and then, to dasp together tiie withered hands which, with 
these exceptions, she kept constantly rubbing upon her knees, 
just raising and depressing her fingers convulsively, in time 
to the rocking of the chair. On the other side sat the mother 
with an infant in her arms, which cried till it cried itself to 
sleep, and when it 'woke, cried till it cried itself off again. 
The old 'ooman's voice I never heard : she seemed completely 
stupified ; and as to the mother's, it would have been better 
if she had been so too, for misery had changed her to a devil. 
If you had heard how she cursed the little naked children aa 



THS BB02SR*S MAN. 29 

was rolling on the floor, and seen how savagely she struck the 
infant when it cried with hunger, you 'd have shuddered as 
much as I did. There they remained all the time : the 
children ate a morsel of bread once or twice, and I gave 'em 
best part of the dinners my missis brought me, but the woman 
ate nothing ; they never even laid on the bedstead, nor was 
the room swept or cleaned all the time. The neighbours were 
all too poor themselves to take any notice of 'em, but from 
what I could make out from the abuse of the woman up- 
stairs, it seemed the husband had been transported a few weeks 
before. When the time was up, the landlord and old Fixem 
too, got rather frightened about the fisonily, and so they made 
a stir about it, and had 'em taken to the workhouse. They 
sent the sick couch for the old 'ooman, and Simmons took 
the children away at night. The old 'ooman went into the 
infirmary, and very soon died. The children are all in the 
house to this day, and very comfortable they are in com- 
parison. As to the mother, there was no taming her at all. 
She had been a quiet, hard-working woman, I believe, but 
her misery had actually drove her wHd; so after she had 
been sent to the house of correction half-a-dozen times, for 
throwing inkstands at the overseers, blaspheming tiie church- 
wardens, and smashing everybody as come near her, she burst 
a blood-vessel one momin', and died too ; and a happy release 
it was, both for herself and the old paupers, male and female, 
which she used to tip over in all directions, as if they were so 
many skittles, and she the ball. 

** Now this was bad enough," resumed Mr. Bung, taking a 
half-step towards the door, as if to intimate that he had nearly 
concluded. " This was bad enough, but there was a sort of 
quiet misery — ^if you understand what I mean by that, sir — 
about a lady at one house I was put into, as touched me a 
good deal more. It doesn't matter where it was exactly: 
indeed, I 'd rather not say, but it was the same sort o' job. 
I went with Fixem in the usual way — ^there was a year's rent 
in airear; a very small servant-girl opened the door, and 
three or four fine-looking little children was in the front 
parlour we were shown into, which was very dean, but very 
scantily furnished, much like the children themselves. 'Bung,' 
says Fixem to me, in a low voice, when we were left alone for 
a minute, ' I know something about this here family, and my 
opinion is, it 's no go.' ' Do you think they can't settle ? ' 



30 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

says I, quite anxiously; for I liked the looks of them children* 
Fizem shook his head, and was just about to reply^ when the 
door opened, and in came a lady, as white as ever I see any 
one in my days, except about the eyes, which were red with 
dying. She walked in, as firm as I could have done ; shut 
the door carefully after her, and sat herself down with a face 
as composed as if it was made of stone, ' What is the matter, 
gentlemen ? ' says she, in a surprisin' steady yoice. ' Js this an 
execution ? ' — ' It is, mum,' says Fixem. The lady looked at 
him as steady as ever : she didn't seem to have understood 
him. ' It is, mum,' says Fixem again ; * this is my warrant 
of distress, mum,' says he, haaif^iTig it over as polite as if it 
was a newspaper which had be^ bespoke arter the next 
gentleman. 

" The lady's lip trembled as she took the printed paper. 
She cast her eye over it, and old Fixem beganto explain the 
form, but I saw she wasn't reading it, plain enough, poor 
thing. * Oh, my God ! ' says she, suddenly a-bursting out 
crying, letting the warrant fiEdl, and hiding her face in her 
hands. ' Oh, my God ! what will become of us ! ' The noise 
she made, brought in a young lady of about nineteen or 
twenty, who, I suppose, had been a-listening at the door, and 
who had got a little boy in her aims : she sat him down in 
the lady's lap, without speaking, and she hugged the poor 
little fellow to her bosom, and cried over him, 'till even old 
Fixem put on his blue spectacles to hide the two tears that 
was artrickling down, one on each side of his dirty face. 
' Now, dear ma,' says the young lady, ' you know how much 
you have borne. For aU our sakes — for pa's sake,' says she, 
' don't give way to this ! ' — ' No, no, I won't ! ' says the lady, 
gathering herself up hastily, and drying her eyes; 'I am 
very foolish, but I 'm better now — much better.' And then 
she roused herself up, went with us into every room while we 
took the inventory, opened all the drawers of her own accord, 
sorted the childzen's little dothes to make the work easier ; 
and, except doing every thing in a strange sort of huny, 
seemed as calm and composed as if nothing had happened. 
When we came down stairs again, she hesitated a minute or 
two, and at last says, ' Gentlemen,' says she, ' I am afraid I 
have done wrong, and perhaps it may bring you into trouble. 
I secreted just now,' she says, ' the only tzinket I have left in 
the world — here it is.'. So she lays down on the table, a 



THB BROKB&*S MAK. SI 

litde mmiatare mounted in gold. ' It 's a miniature,' she 
flays, * of my poor dear father ! I little thought onoe, that t 
should ever thank God for depriving me of the original ; but 
I do, and have done for years back, most fervently. Take it 
away, sir,' she says, ' it 's a face that never turned from me 
in sickness or distress, and I can hardly bear to turn from it 
now, when, God knows, I suffer both in no ordinary degree/ 
I couldn't say nothing, but I raised my head from the 
inventory which I was filling up, and looked at Fixem ; the 
old fellow nodded to me significantly, so I ran my pen through 
the ' Mini ' I had just written, and left the miniature on the 
table. 

'' Well, sir, to make short of a long stoiy, I wajs left in 
possession, and in possession I remained ; and though I was 
an ignorant man, and the maater of the house a clever one, 
I saw what he never did, but what he would give worlds now 
(if he had 'em) to have seen in time. I saw, sir, that his 
wife was wasting away, beneath cares of which she never 
complained, and griefii she never told. I saw that she was 
dying before his eyes; I knew that one exertion from him 
might have saved her, but he never made it. I don't blame 
him ; I don't think he could rouse himself. She had so long 
antioipated all his wishes, and acted 'for him, that he was a 
lost man when left to himself. I used to think when I caught 
sight of har, in the clothes she used to wear, which looked 
shabby even upon her, and would have been scarcely decent 
on any one else, that if I wajs a gentleman it would wring my 
very heart to see the woman that was a smart and merxy girl 
when I courted her, so altered through her love for me^ 
Bitter cold and damp weather it was, yet, though her dress 
was thin, and her shoes none of the best, during the whole 
three days, from morning to night, she was out of doors 
running about to tiy and raise the money. The money was 
raised, and the execution was paid out. The whole fronily 
crowded into the room where I was, when the money arrived. 
The &iher was quite happy as the inconvenience was removed 
— I daresay he didn't know how ; the children looked merry 
and cheerful again; the eldest girl was bustling about, making 
preparations for the first comfortable meal they had had since 
the distress was put in ; and the mother looked pleased to see 
them all so. But if ever I saw death in a woman's fiftoe, I 
' it in hers that nights 



32 SKBTOHBS BT BOZ. 

" I wafl ligbt, sir/' continued Mr. Bung, himiecny paM- 
ing his coat-sleeve over his face, ''the fomily grew more 
prosperous, and good fortune axrived. Bat it was too 
late. Those children are motherless now, and their father 
would give up all he has since gained — Chouse, home, goods, 
money : all that he has, or ever can have, to restore the wife 
he has lost.'' 



CHAPTER VI. 

TBI LADIBS' BOCISnXS. 



OiTB Parish is yezy prolific in ladies' charitable institutions. 
In winter, when wet feet are common and colds not scarce, 
we have the ladies' soup distribution society, the ladies' coal 
distribution society, and the ladies' blanket distribution 
society; in summer, when stone fruits flourish and stomach 
aches prevail, we have the ladies' dispensaiy, and the ladies' 
sick visitation committee ; and aU the year round we have the 
ladies' child's examination society, the ladies' bible and 
prayer-book circulation society, and the ladies' childbed-linen 
monthly loan society. The two latter are decidedly the most 
important ; whether they are productive of more benefit than 
the rest, is not for us to say, but we can take upon ourselves 
to affirm, with the utmost solemnity, that they create a greater 
stir, and more bustle than all the others put together. 

We should be disposed to affirm, on die first blush of the 
matter, that the bible and prayer-book society is not so 
popular as the childbed-linen society; the bible and prayer- 
book society has, however, considerably increased in import- 
ance within the last year or two, having derived some 
adventitious aid from tiiie factious opposition of the child's 
examination society ; which factious opposition originated in 
manner following: — ^When the young curate was popular, 
and all the unmarried ladies in the parish took a serious turn, 
the charity children all at once became objects of peculiar and 
especial interest. The three Miss Browns (enthusiastic 
ackairers of the curate) taught, and exerdsed, and examined 
and re-examined the unfortunate children, until the boys 



THB LADIES SOCIBTIKS. 83 

grew pale, and the girls oonsumptiTO with study and 
fatigae. The three Miss Browns stood it out rery well, 
hecaose they relieved each other; but the children, having 
no relief at all, exhibited decided symptoms of weariness 
and oare. The unthinking part of the parishioners laughed 
at all this, but the more reflective portion of the inhabitants 
abstained from expressing any opinion on the subject until 
that of the curate had been clearly ascertained. 

The opportuniiy was not long wanting. The curate 
preached a charity sermon on behalf of the charity school, 
and in the charity sermon aforesaid, expatiated in glowing 
ienns on ihe praiseworthy and inde&tigable exertions of 
certain estimable individuals. Sobs were heard to issue 
from the three Miss Browns' pew; tiie pew opener of the 
division was seen to hurry down the centre aisle to the vestry 
door, and to Mtnm immediately, bearing a glass of water in 
her hand. A low moaning ensued; two more pew-openers 
rushed to the spot, and the tiiree Miss Browns, each supported 
by a pew-<^neif, were led out of tiie church, and led in again 
after the lapse of five minutes with white pocket-handkerchie& 
to their eyes, as if they had been attending a funeral in the 
churchyard adjoining. If any doubt had for a moment 
existed, as to whom the allusion was intended to apply,^ it was 
at once removed. The wish to enlighten the charity children 
became universal, and the three Miss Browns were unani- 
mously besought to divide the school into dasses, and to 
assign each dass to the superintendence of two young ladies. 

A little learning is a dangerous thing, but a littie patro- 
nage is more so; the three Miss Browns appointed aU the 
old maids, and carefully excluded the young ones. Maiden 
aunte triumphed,' mammas were reduced to the lowest depth 
of despair, and there is no telling in what act of violence the 
general indignation against the tiiree Miss Browns might 
have vented itself, had not a i>erfectly providential occur- 
rence changed the tide of public feeling. Mrs. Johnson 
Parker, the mother of seven extremely fine girls — all un- 
married — ^hastily reported to several other mammas of several 
other umnazried fbinilies, that five old men, six old women, and 
children innumerable, in the free seats near her pew, were in 
the habit of coming to church every Sunday, without either 
bible or prayer-book Was this to be borne in a civilised 
ooontryf Gould such things be tolerated in a Christian 



84 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

land ? Never P A ladies' bible and prayer-book distributioii 
sodeiy was instantly formed : president, Mrs. Johnson Parker; 
treasurers, auditors, and secretary, the Misses Johnson Parker: 
subscriptions were entered into, books were bought, all the 
free-seat people provided therewith, and when the first lesson 
was given out, on the first Sunday suoceediog these events, 
ehere was such a dropping of books, and rustling of leaves, 
that it was morally impossible to hear one word of the service 
for five minutes afterwards. 

The three Miss Browns, and their pariy, saw the approach- 
ing danger, and endeavoured to avert it by ridicule and 
sarcasm. Neither the old men nor the old women could read 
their books now they had got them, said the three Miss 
Browns. Never mind ; they could learn, replied Mrs. Johnson 
Parker. The children could'nt read either, suggested the three 
Miss Browns. No matter; they could be taught, retorted 
Mrs. Johnson Parker. A balance of parties took place. The 
Miss Browns publicly examined — ^popular feeling inclined to 
the child's examination society. The Miss Johnson Parkers 
publicly distributed — a re-action took place in favour of the 
prayer-book distribution. A feather would have turned the 
scale, and a feather did turn it. A missionary returned from 
the West Indies ; he was to be presented to the Dissenters' 
Missionazy Society on his marriage with a wealthy widow. 
Overtures were made to the Dissenters by the Johnson 
Parkers. Their object was the same, and why not have a 
joint meeting of tixe two societies? The proposition was 
accepted. The meeting was duly heralded by public 
announcement, and the room was crowded to sufifocation. 
The missionary appeared on the platform; he was hailed with 
enthusiasm. He repeated a dialogue he had heard between 
two negroes, behind a hedge, on the subject of distribution 
societies; the approbation was tumultuous. He gave an 
imitation of the two negroes in broken English; the roof 
was rent with applause. From that period we date (with one 
trifling exception) a daily increase in the popularity of the 
distribution society, and an increase of popularity, which the 
feeble and impotent opposition of the examination party, has 
only tended to augment. 

Now, the great points about the childbed-linen monthly 
loan society are, that it is less dependent on the fluctuationB o£ 
f ublio opinion than either the distribution or the child's 



THB LABIBI? SOCIETIES. Z5 

examination ; and that, oome what maj, there is never any 
lack of objects on which to exercise its benevolence. Our 
parish is a very populous one, and, if cmjthing, contributes, 
we should be disposed to saj, rather more than its due share 
to the aggregate amount of births in the metropolis and its 
environs. The consequence is, Ihat the monthly loan society 
flourishes, and invests its members with a most enviable amount 
of bustling patronage. The sodeiy (whose only notion of 
dividing time, would appear to be its allotment into months) 
holds monthly tea-drinJdngs, at which the monthly report is 
received, a secretary elected for the month ensuing, and such 
of the monthly boxes as may not happen to be out on loan for 
the month, carefully examined. 

We were never present at one of these meetings, from all 
of which it is iM^arcely necessary to say, gentlemen are carefully 
excluded; but Mr. Bung has been caRed. before the board 
once or twice, and we have his authority for stating, that its 
proceedings are conducted with great order and regularity: 
not more than four members being allowed to speak at one 
time on any pretence whatever. The regular committee is 
composed exclusively of married ladies, but a vast number of 
young unmarried ladies of from eighteen to twenty-flve years 
of age, respectively, are admitted as honorary members, partly 
because they are very useful in replenishing the boxes, 
and visiting the confined; partly because it is highly 
desirable that they should be initiated, at an early period, 
into the more serious and matronly duties of after-life; 
and partly because, prudent mammas have not imfrequently 
been known to turn this circumstance to wonderfully good 
account in matrimonial speculations. 

In addition to the loan of the monthly boxes (which are 
always painted blue, with Ihe niEune of Ihe sodeiy in large 
white letters on the lid), the society dispense occasional grants 
of beef-tea, and a composition of warm beer, spice, eggs, and 
sugar, commonly known by the name of "caudle," to its 
patients. And here again the services of the honorary 
members ore called into requisition, and most cheerfWy 
conceded. Deputations of twos or threes are sent out to visit 
the patients, and on these occasions there is such a tasting of 
caudle and beef-tea, such a stirring about of little messes in 
tiny saucepans on the hob, such a dressing and undressing of 
infants, such a tying, and folding, and pinning; such a 

p2 



&6 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

XLUTsing and wamung of litde legs and feeit before the fire, 
such a delightful ooiifuflioii of talking and cooking, bustle, 
importance, and officiousness, as never can be enjoyed in its 
full extent but on similar occasions. 

In rivalry of these two institutionB, and as a last, expiring 
effort to aoq\iire parochial popularify, iinb child's examination 
people determined, ^the other day, on having^ a grand- public 
examination of the pupils ; and the large sdiooL-room of the 
national seminaiy was, by and witii tiie consent, of the piasiah 
authorities, devoted, to the purpose. Invitation circulais were 
forwarded to all the pnndpal parishioners, including, of 
course, the heads of the other two societies, for whose especial 
behoof and edification the display waa intended ; and a large 
audience was confidently antidpaited on the occasion. The 
fioor was carefully scrubbed tiie day before, under tiie imme« 
diate superintendence o£ l^e three Miss Browns ; forms wen 
placed across the room £>r the aocommodation of i&e visitois, 
specimens in writing were carefully seleoted, and» as carefiilfy 
patched and touched up, until .they astonished the ohildven 
who had written them, rather more than the company who 
read them ; sums in compound addition were rehearsed and 
re-rehearsed until all the childrm had the totola by heaxt; 
and the preparations altogether were on the most laborious 
and ifiost comprehensive scale. The moroing airived: the 
cihildren were yellow-soaped and flannelled, and towelled, till 
their faces shone again; every pupil's hair was caMEftilly 
combed into his or heroes, as the case might ba; tiie girls 
were adorned with snow-white tippets, and caps bound round 
the head by a single purple ribbon : the necks of the eider 
boys were fixed into collars of startling dimensions. 

The doors were thrown open, and the Misses Brown and 
Co. were discovered in plain white muslin dresses, and caps of 
the same — ^the child's examination uniform. The room fiOlled: 
the greetings of the company were loud and cordial. The 
distributionists trembled, for their popularity was at stake. 
The eldest boy fell forward^ and delivered a propitiatoiy 
address from b^ind his coUar. It was from tiie pen of Mr. 
Henry Brown ; the applause was universal, and the Johnson 
Parkers were aghast. The examination proceeded with 
success, and terminated in triumph. The child's examination 
society gained a momentary victory, and the Johnson Parkers 
retreated in despair. 







.y:/- A.-> 



/ 



OUK NEXT-BOOK NEieHBOUB. 87 

A seoret ooundl of the dLstributioiiists was held that night; 
with Mrs. Johnson Parker in the chair, to consider of the best 
means of recovering the ground they had lost in the favour of 
the pariah. What conld be done? Another meeting! 
Alas ! who was to attend it ? The Missionary would not do 
twice ; and the slaves were emancipated. A bold step must 
be taken. The parish must be astonished in some way or 
other ; but no one was able to suggest what the step should 
be. At length, a very old lady was heard to mumble, in 
indistinct tones, ''Exeter Hall." A sudden light broke in 
upon the meeting. It was unanimously resolved, that a 
deputation of old ladies should wait upon a celebrated orator, 
imploring his assistance, and the favour of a speech; and that 
the deputation should also wait on two or three other imbecile 
old women, not resident in the parish, and entreat their 
attendance. The application was successfiil, the meeting was 
held: the orator (an Irishman) came. He talked of green 
isles— other shores — vast Atlantio— bosom of the deep- 
Christian charity — ^blood and extermination — mercy in hearts 
— Hurms in hands — ^altars and homes — ^household gods. He 
wiped his «yes, he blew his nose, and he quoted Latin. The 
effect was tremendous — ^the Latin was a decided hit. Nobody 
knew exactly what it was about, but everybody knew it must 
be ajGEecting, because even the orator was overcome. The 
popularity of the distribution sodety among the ladies of our 
parish is unprecedented; and the child's examination is going 
fJEMBt to decay. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Ona NBXT-DOOB NETOABOUB. 



We axe very fond of speculating, as we walk through a 
street, on the character and pursuits of the people who inhabit 
it ; and nothing so materially assksts us in these speculations 
as the appearance of the house doors. The various expres- 
nons of the human countenance afford a beautiful and interest- 
ing study; but there is something in the physiognomy of 
street-door knockers, almost as characteristic, and nearly as 



eS^ SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

infallible. Whenever we visit a man for the first time, we 
contemplate the features of his knocker with the greatest 
curiosity, for we well know, that between the man and his 
. knocker, there will inevitably be a greater or less degree of 
resemblance and sympathy. 

For instance, there is one description of knocker that used 
to be common enough, but which is £su3t passing away — a 
' large roimd one, with the jolly face of a convivial lion smiling 
blandly at you, as you twist the sides of your hair into a curl, 
or pull up your shirt-collar while you are waiting for the door 
to be opened; we never saw that knocker on the door of a 
churlish man — so fax as our experience is concerned, it 
invariably bespoke hospitaliiy and another bottle. 

No man ever saw this knocker on the door of a small 
attorney or bill-broker ; they always patronise the other lion ; 
a heavy ferocious-looking fellow, with a countenance expressive 
of savage stupidity — a sort of grand master among the 
knockers, and a great favourite with the selfish and brutal. 

Then there is a little pert Egyptian knocker, with a long 
thin face, a pinched up nose, and a very sharp chin ; he' is 
most in vogue with your government-office people, in light 
drabs and starched cravats: little spare priggish men, who 
are perfectly satisfied with their own opinions, and consider 
. theniselves of paramount importance. 

We were greatly troubled a few years ago, by the innova- 
tion of a new kind of knocker, vidthput auj face aJL^aJl, com- 
posed of a wreath, depending fix)m a hand or small truncheon. 
A little trouble and attention, however, enabled us to over- 
come this difficulty, and to reconcile the ney[.sysi§gLio our 
favourite theory. You will invariably find^ this knocker on 
( the doors of cold and formal people, who always, ask you why 
I you don't come, and never say do. 

Everybody knows the brass knocker is common to suburban 
villas, and extensive boarding-schools; and having noticed 
this genus we have recapitulated all the most prominent and 
strongly-defined species. 

Some phrenologists affirm, that the^ agitation of a man's 
brain by different passions, produces corresponding develop- 
ments in the form of his skuU. Do not let us be understood 
as pushing our theory to the length of asserting, that any 
alteration in a man's disposition would produce a visible efiEect 
on the feature of his knocker. Our position merely is, that in 



OUB NEXT-DOOR NBIGHB0T7B. 89 

sach a case^ fhe magnetism wMbh must exist between a man 
and bis knocker, would induce the man to remove, and seek 
some knocker more congenial to his altered feelings. If you 
ever find a man changing his habitation without any reason- 
able pretext, depend upon it, that, although he may not be | 
aware of the fact himself, it is because he and his knocker are * 
at variance. This is a new theory, but we venture to launch 
it, nevertheless, as being quite as ingenious and infaUible as 
many thousand of the learned speculations which are daily 
broached for public good and private fortune-making. 

Entertaining these feelings on the subject of knockers, it 
will be readily imagined -sntix what consternation we viewe4 
the entire removal of the knocker firom the door of the next 
house to the one we lived in, some time ago, and the substi- 
tution of a bell. This was a calamity we had never antici- 
pated. The bare idea of anybody being able to exist without 
a knocker, appeared so wild and visionary, that it had never 
for one instant entered our imagination. 

We sauntered moodily from the spot, and bent our steps 
towards Eaton Square, then just building. What was our 
astonishment and indignation to find that bells were fast 
becoming the rule, and knockers the exception ! Our theory 
trembled beneath the shock. We hastened home ; and fancying 
we foresaw in the swift progress of events, its entire abolition, 
resolved ^m that day forward to vent our speculations on 
our next-door neighbours in person. The house adjoining 
ours on the left hand was uninhabited, and we had, therefore, 
plenty of leisure to observe our next-door neighbours on the 
other side. 

The house without the knocker was in the occupation of a 
city dork, and there was a neatly-written bill in the parlour 
window intimating that lodgings for a single gentleman were 
to be let within. 

It was a neat, dull little house, on the shady side of the 
way, with new, narrow floorcloth in the passage, and new, 
narrow stair-caxpets up to the first floor. The paper was 
new, and the paint was new, and the furniture was new ; and ' 
all three, paper, paint, and furniture, bespoke the limited 
means of the tenant. There was a little red and black carpet 
in the drawing-room, with a border of flooring all the way 
round; a few stained chairs and a pembroke table. A pink 
flhell was displayed on each of the little sideboards, which. 



40 8ESTCHES BY BOZ. 

with the addiiioii of a tea-tray and caddy, a few more ahelk 
on the mantelpieoe, and three peaoook's feathers tastefully 
atranged above them, completed the deooratiTe fiiniituie of 
the apartment. 

This was the room destined for the reception of the single 
gentleman during the day, and a little back room on the same 
floor was assigned aa his sleeping apartment by night. 

The bill had not been long in the window, when a stout 
good-humoured looking gentleman, of about five-and-thirty, 
appeared aa a candidate for the towacy. Terms were soon 
arranged, for the bill was taken down immediately after his 
first visit. In a day or two the single gentleman came in, 
and shortly afterwards his real character came out. 

First of all, he displayed a most extraordinaiy partiality 
for sitting up till three or four o'clock in the morning, drinking 
whiskey-and-water, and smoking cigars; then he invited 
Mends home, who used to come at ten o'dock, and begin to 
get happy about the small hours, when they evinced their 
perfect contentment by singing songs with half-a-doflsen verses 
of two lines each, and a chorus of ten, which chorus used to 
be shouted forth by the whole strength of the company, in 
the most enthusiastio and vociferous manner, to the great 
annoyance of the neighbours, and the spedal discomfort of 
another single gentleman overhead. 

Now, this was bad enough, occurring oa it did three times 
a week on the average, but this was not all ; for when the 
company did go away, instead of walking quietly down the 
street, as anybody else's company would have done, they 
amused themselves by making alarming and frightful noises, 
and counterfeiting the shrieks <^ females in distress ; and one 
night, a red-&ced gentleman, in a white hat knorked in the 
most urgent manner at the door of the powdered-headed 
old gentleman at No. 8, and when the powdered-headed old 
gentleman, who Ihought one of his married daughters must 
have been taken ill prematurely, had groped down stairs, and 
after a great deal of unbolting and key-turning, opened the 
street-door, the red-faoed man in the white hat said he hofped 
he 'd excuse his giving him so much trouble, but he 'd iad 
obliged if he 'd favour him with a glass of cold spring water, 
and the loan of a shilling for a cab to take him home, on 
which the old gentleman slammed the door and went up 
stairs, and threw the contents of his water jug out of window 



OUR ITBZT-DOOB JSTBIGHBOUB. 41 

—very straight, only it went oyer the T?roiig man ; end the 

wbole street was inyolved in confusion. 

A joke's a joke; and even practical jests are very capital 

in their way, if you can only get the other party to see the 
fiin of them ; but the population of our street were so dull of 
apprehension, as to be quite lost to a sense of the droUeiy of 
this proceeding ; and the consequence was, that our next-door 
neighbour was obliged to tell the single gentleman, that 
unless he gave up entertaining his Mends at home, he really 
must be compelled to part with him. The single gentleman 
received the remonstrance with great good -humour, and 
promised from that time forward, to spend his evenings at a 
coffee-house — a determination which afforded general and 
unmixed satisfaction. 

The next night passed off very well, everybody being 
delighted with the change ; but on the next, the noises were 
renewed with greater spirit than ever. The single gentleman's 
firiends being unable to see him in his own house every 
alternate night, had come to the determination of seeing him 
home every night ; and what with the discordant greetings of 
the friends at parting, and the noise created by the single 
gentleman in his passage up stairs, and his subsequent 
struggles to get his boots off, the evil was not to be borne. 
So, our next-door neighbour gave the single gentleman, who 
was a very good lodger in other respects, notice to quit ; and 
the single gentleman went away, and entertained hij9 firiends 
in o&er lodgings. 

The next applicant for the vacant first floor, was of a very 
difEarent character from the troublesome single g^itleman 
who had just quitted it. He was a tall, thin, young gentleman, 
with a profrision of brown hair, reddish whiskers, and very 
slightly developed mustaches. He wore a braided surtout, 
with frogs behind, light gray trousers, and wash-leather 
gloves, and had altogether rather a military appearance. So 
unlike the rqystering single gentleman! Such insinuating 
maimers, and such a delightful address! So seriously dis- 
posed, too ! When he first came to look at the lodgings, he 
inquired most particularly whether he was sure to be able to 
get a seat in the parish church ; and when he had agreed to 
take them, he requested to have a list of the different local 
charities, as he intended to subscribe his mite to the most 
deserving among them. Our next-door neighbour was now 



48 SEBTGHES BY BOZ. 

perfectly liappy. He had got a lodger at last, of just his own 
way of thiTikiTig — a serious, weU-disposed man, who abhorred 
gaiety, and loved retirement. He took down the bill with e 
light heart, and pictured in imagination a long series of quiet 
Sundays, on which he and his lodger would exchange mutual 
CLvilities and Sunday papers. 

The serious man arrived, and his luggage was to arriye 
from the country next morning. He borrowed a dean shirt, 
and a prayer-book, from our next-door neighbour, and retired 
to rest at an early hour, requesting that he might be called 
pxmctually at ten o'clock next morning — ^not before, as he was 
much £Eitigued. 

He 1003 called, and did not answer : he was called again, 
but there was no reply. Our next-door neighbour became 
alarmed, and burst the door open. The serious man had left 
the house mysteriously; carrying with him the shirt, the 
prayer-book, a tea-spoon, and the bed-dothes. 

Whether this occurrence, coupled with the irregularities of 
his former lodger, gave our next-door neighbour an aversion 
to single gentlemen, we know not; we only know that the 
next bill which made its appearance in the parlour window 
intimated generally, that there were frimished apartments to 
let on the first floor. The bill was soon removed. The new 
lodgers at first attracted our curiosiiy, and afterwards excited 
our interest. 

They were a young lad of eighteen or nineteen, and his 
mother, a lady of about fifty, or it might be less. The mother 
wore a widow's weeds, and the boy was also dothed in deep 
mourning. They were poor — ^very poor ; for their only means 
of support arose from the pittance tiie boy earned, by copying 
writings, and translating for booksellers. 

They had removed from some country place and settled in 
London ; partly because it afforded better chances of employ- 
ment for the boy, and partly, perhaps, with the natural desire 
to leave a place where they had been in better circimistances, 
and where their poverty was known. They were proud under 
their reverses, and above revealing their wants and privations 
to strangers. How bitter those privations were, and how 
hard the boy worked to remove Ihem, no one ever knew but 
themsdves. Night after night, two, three, four hours aft»r 
midnight, could we hear the occasional raking up of the 
scanty fire, or the hollow and half-stifled cough, which 



CUB NEZT-DOOB NBiaHBOHB. 4S 

indicated his being still at work ; and daj after day, could we 
see more plainly that nature had set that unearthly light in 
his plaintiye iaoe, which is the beacon of her worst disease. 

Actuated, we hope, by a higher feeling than mere curiosity, 
we contrived to establish, first an acquaintance, and then a 
dose intimacy, with the poor strangers. ' Our worst fears 
were realised ; the boy was sinking fast. Through a part of 
the winter, and the whole of the following spring and summer, 
his labours were unceasingly prolonged: and the mother 
attempted to procure needlework embroidery — anything for 
bread. 

A few shillings now and then, were all she could earn. 
The boy worked steadily on; dying by minutes, but never 
once giving utterance to complaint or murmur. 

One beautiful autumn evening we went to pay our 
customary visit to the invalid. His little remaining strength 
had been decreasing rapidly for two or three days preceding, 
and he was lying on the so£a. at the open window, gazing at 
the setting sun. His mother had been reading the Bible to 
him, for she closed the book as we entered, and advanced to 
meet us. 

** I was telling William," she said, '' that we must manage 
to take him into the country somewhere, so that he may get 
quite well. He is not ill, you know, but he is not very 
strong, and has exerted himself too much lately." Poor 
thing ! The tears that streamed through her fingers, as she 
turned aside, as if to adjust her dose widow's cap, too plainly 
showed how fruitless was the attempt to deceive herself. 

We sat down by the head of the sofa, but said nothing, for 
we saw the breath of life was passing gently but rapidly from 
the young form before us. At every respiration, his heart 
beat more slowly. 

The boy placed one hand in ours, grasped his mother's arm 
with the other, drew her hastily towards him, and fervently 
kissed her cheek. There was a pause. He sunk back upon 
his pillow, and looked long and earnestly in his mother's face. 

" William, William ! " murmured the mother after a long 
interval, '' don't look at me so— speak to me, dear ! " 

The boy smiled languidly, but an instant afterwards his 
features resolved into the same cold, solemn gasse. 

" William, dear William ! rouse yourself, dear ; don't look 
at me so, love— pray don't 1 Oh,myQod! what shallldo!" 



41 8KK T U11JB BT BOZ. 

cried the widow, dasping her hands in agony — ''my deer 
boy ! he is dying ! " 

The boy raised himself by a violent effort, and fdded his 
hands together — ''Mother! dear, dear mother, bury me in 
the open fields — ^anywhere but in these dreadful streets. I 
should like to be where you can see my grave, but not in 
these dose crowded streets; they have killed me; k£Bs me 
again, mother ; put your arm round my nedc — " 

He fell back, and a strange expression stole upon his 
features ; not of pain or eufferinjg, but an indescribable fixing 
of every line and musde. 

The boy was dead. 




• '/'/f r/^j, . /////v/ 



THS STBBBTS— HOSNINa. 4S 



SCENES. 



CHAPTER L 

TBB BTBBETS— MOBNIKO. 

The appearance presented by the streets of London an hour 
before sun-rise, on a summer's morning, is most striking even 
to the few whose unfortunate pursuits of pleasure, or scarcely 
less unfortunate pursuits of business, cause them to be well 
acquainted with the scene. There is an air of cold, solitary 
desolation about the noiseless streets which we are accustomed 
to see thronged at other times by a busy, eager crowd, and 
orer the quiet, dosely-shut buildings, which throughout the 
day axe swarming with life and bustle, that is very impressiye. 

The last drunken mau, who shall find his way home before 
sun^lig-ht, has just staggered heavily along, roaring out the 
burden of the drinking song of the previous night : the last 
houseless vagrant whom penury and police have left iu the 
streets, has coiled up his chilly limbs in some paved comer, to 
dream, of food and warmth. The drunken, the dissipated, and 
the wretched have disappeared ,* the more sober and orderly 
part of iitie population have not yet awakened to the labours 
of the day, and the stillness of death is over the streets ; its 
veiy hue seems to be imparted to them, cold and lifeless aa 
they look in the grey, sombre, light of daybreak. The coach* 
stands in the larger thoroughfares are deserted : the night- 
houses are closed ; and the chosen promenades of profligate 
misery are empty. 

An occasional policeman may alone be seen at the street- 
oomers, listlessly gazing on the deserted prospect before him ; 
and now and then a rakish-looking cat runs stealthily across 
Hie road and descends his own area with as much caution and 
slyness — ^bounding first on the water-but, then on the dust- 
hole, and then alighting on the flag-stones — ^as if he were 



4S SEBTCHES BT BOZ. 

conscious that liis character depended on his gallantry of the 
preceding night escaping public observation. A partially 
opened bedroom-window here and there, bespeaiks the heat of 
the weather, and the uneasy slumbers of its occupant ; and 
the dim scanty flicker of the rush-light, through the window- 
blind, denotes the chamber of watchiag or sickness. With 
these few exceptions, the streets present no signs of life, nor 
the houses of habitation. 

An hour wears away ; the spires of the churches and roofs 
of the principal buildii^ are fain£Lj tinged with the light 
of the rising sun; and the streets, by abnost imperceptible 
degrees, begLi to resume their bustle and animation. Market- 
carts roll slowly along: the sleepy waggoner impatiently 
urging on his tired horses, or vainly endeavouring to awaken 
the boy, who, luxuriously stretched on the top of the fruit- 
baskets, forgets, in happy oblivion, his long-cherished curiosity 
to behold the wonders of London. 

Bough, sleepy-looking animals of strange appearance, some- 
thing between ostlers and hackney-coachmen, begin to take 
down the shutters of early public-houses; and little deal 
tables, with the ordinary preparations for a street breakfast, 
make their appearance at the customary stations. Numbers 
of men and women (principally the latter), carrying upon 
their heads heavy baskets of fruit, toil down the park side of 
Piccadilly, on their way to Covent Garden, and, following 
each other in rapid succession, form a long straggliog line 
from thence to the turn of the road at Enightsbridge. 

Here and there, a bricklayer's, labourer, with the day's 
dinner tied up in a handkerchief, walks briskly to his work, 
and occasionally a little knot of three or four schoolboys on a 
stolen bathing expedition rattle merrily over the pavement^ 
their boisterous mirth contraBting forcibly with the demeanour 
of the little sweep, who, having knocked and rung till his 
arm aches, and being interdicted by a merciM legislature 
.-^from endangering his lungs by calling out, sits patiently down 
on the door-step until the housemaid may happen to awake. 

CJovent Garden market, and the avenues leading to it are 
thronged with carts of all sorts, sisses, and descriptions, from 
the heavy lumbering waggon, with its four stout horses, to 
the jingling costermonger's cart with its consumptive donkey. 
The pavement is already strewed with decayed cabbage-leaves, 
broken haybands, and all the indescribable litter of a vegetable 



THB STRBBTS— MOENma. 



@ 



market; men are shouting, carts backing, horses neighing 
hoys fighting, basket-women taJking, piemen expatiating on the 
excellence of their pastry, and donkeys braying. These and a 
hundred other sounds form a compound discordant enough to 
a Londoner's ears, and remarkably disagreeable to those of 
country gentlemen who are sleeping at the Hummums for the 
first time. 

Another hour passes away, and the day begins in good 
earnest. The servant of all work, who, imder the plea of 
sleeping very soundly, has utterly disregarded ''Missis's" 
ringing for half an hour previously, is warned by Master 
(whom Missis has sent up in his drapeiy to the landing-place 
for that purpose) that it's half-past six, whereupon she 
awakes all of a sudden, with weU-feigned astonishment, and 
goes down stairs very sulkily, wishing , while she strikes a 
light, that the principle nf /«p«ffl55iieAii8 ^T T,fl/^»w<.tnnv wnnM 
extend itself to coals and kitchen range. When the fire is 
lighted, she opens the street-door to toke in the milk, when, 
by the most singular coincidence in the world, she discovers 
that the servant next door has just taken in her milk too, and 
that Mruffodd's young man over the way, is, by an equally 
extraordinary chance, taking down his master's shutters. The 
inevitable consequence is, that she just steps, milk-jug in 
hand, as £eur as next door, just to say " good morning," to 
Betsy Clark, and that Mr. Todd's young man just steps over 
the way to say " good morning " to both of 'em ; and as the 
aforesaid Mr. Todd's young man is almost as good-looking 
and fascinating as the baker himself, the conversation quickly 
becomes very interesting, and probably would become more 
so, if Betsy Clark's Missis, who always will be a followin' her 
about, didn't give an angry tap at her bedroom window, on 
which Mr. Todd's young man tries to whistle coolly, as he goes 
back to his shop much faster than he came from it ; and the 
two girls run back to their respective places, and i^ut their 
street-doors with surprising softness, each of them poking 
their heads out of the front parlour-window, a minute after- 
wards, however, ostensibly with the view of looking at the 
mail which just then passes by, but really for the purpose of 
catching another glimpse of Mr. Todd's young man, who being 
fond of xuails,. but more of frmalga, takes a short look at the 
mails, and a long look at thV girls, much to the satisfiEU^on of 
all forties ooncemed. 



/ 



48 ^' SEBTOHBS BY 302. 

The mail itself goes on to the coach-ofEce in due course, and 
the passengers who are going out by the early coach, stare 
with astonishment at the passengers who are coming in by the 
early coach, who look blue and dismal, and are evidently under 
the influence of that odd feeling produced by trayelling, which 
makes the events of yesterday morning seem as if they had hap- 
pened at least six months ago, and induces people to wonder 
with considerable gravily whether the Mends and relations 
fhey took leave of a fortnight before, have altered much since 
they left them. The coach-oflice is all alive, and the coaches 
which are just going out, are surrounded by the usual crowd 

[of Jews and nondescripts,^' who seem to consider. Heaven 
knows why, that it is quite impossible any man can mount a 
coach without requiring at least six-penny-worth of oranges, a 
penknife, a pocket-book, a last-year's annual, a pencil-case, a 
piece of sponge, and a small series of caricatures. 

HaJf an hour more, and the sun darts his bright rays cheer- 
fully down the still half-empty streets, and shines with suffi- 
cient force to rouse the dismal laziness of the apprentice, who 
pauses every other minute from his task of sweeping out the 
fihop and watering the pavement in front of it, to tcA another 
apprentice similarly employed, how hot it wiU be to-day, or 
to stand with his right hand shading his eyes, and his left 
resting on the broom, gazing at the "Wonder," or the 

1 " Tally-ho," or the " Nimrod," or some other fast coach, till it 

/ is out of sight, when he re-enters the shop, envying the pas- 
sengers on the outside of the fisist coach, and thinking of the 

^ old red brick house " down in the country," where he went 
to school: the miseries of the milk and water, and thick 
bread and scrapings, fading into nothing before the pleasant 
recollection of ^e green fleld the boys used to play in, and 
the green pond he was caned for presuming to fall into, and 
other schoolboy associations. 

Cabs, with trunks and band-boxes between the drivers' legs 
and outside the apron, rattle briskly up and down the streets 
on their way to the coach-offices or steam-packet wharfe ; and 
the cab-drivers and hackney-coachmen who are on the stand 
polish up the ornamental part of their dingy vehicles — the 
former wondering how people can prefer "them wild beast 
cariwans of homnibuses, to a riglar cab with a fast trotter," 
and the latter admiring how people can trust their neoks into 
one of " them crazy cabs, when they can have a 'spectable 



THB STBEBTS— MOBKINa 49 

'ackn^ ootche with a pair of 'orses as von't run away with no 
vun;" a oonsolation unquestioiiably founded on fact, seeing 
that a hackney coach-horse never was known to run at all, 
'' except," as the smart cabman in front of the rank observes, 
"except one, and he run backwards." 

The shops are now completely opened, and apprentices and 
shopmen are busily engaged in cleaning and decking the 
windows for the day. The bakers' shops in town are filled 
with servants and children waiting for the drawing of the 
first batch of roUs — an operation which was performed a fiill 
hour ago in the suburbs ; for the early derk population of 
Somen and Camden towns, Islington, and Pentonville, are 
fast pouring into the ciiy, or directing their steps towards 
Ohanoery-lane and the Inns of Court. Middle-aged men, 
whose salaries have by no means' increased in the same pro-f^, 
portion as their fEunilies, plod steadily along, apparently withi 
no object in view but i^e counting-house ; knowing by sight 
almost everybody they meet or overtake, for they have seen 
them every morning (Sundays excepted) during the last twenty 
yeara, but speaking to no one. If they do happen to overtake 
a personal acquaintance, they just exchange a hurried saluta 
tion, and keep walking on either by his side, or in front 
him, as his rate of walking may chance to be. As to stopping 
to shake hands, or to take the Mend's arm, they seem to think 
that as it is not included in their salary, they have no right to 
do it. Small office lads in large hats, who are made men 
before they are boys, hurry along in pairs, with their fibrst 
coat carefiilly brushed, and the white trousers of last Sunday 
plentifully besmeared with dust and ink. It evidently 
xequires a considerable mental struggle to avoid investing 
part of the day's dinner-money in the purchase of the stale 
tarts so temptingly exposed in dusty tins at the pastry-cook's 
doors ; but a consciousness of their own importance and the 
receipt of seven shillings a-week, with the prospect of an early 
lise to eight, comes to their aid, and they accordingly put 
their hats a little more on one side, and look under the 
bonnets of all the milliners' and staymakers' apprentices they 
meet — poor girls ! — ^the hardest worked, the worst paid, and^ 
too often, the worst used class of the communily. -^ 

Eleven o'clock, and a new set of people fill the streets. The 
goods in the shop- windows are invitingly arranged ; the shop- 
men in their white ueckaTchie& and spruce coats, look as if 



a-l 
of\ 



50 SKBTCHB8 BT BOZ. 

iihey uouldn't dean a window if their liTes depended on it; the 
carts have disappeared from Ck>yent Garden ; the waggoners 
have returned, and the costennongers repaired to their 
ordinary " beats " in the suburbs ; clerks are at their offices, 
cuid gigs, cabs, omnibuses, and saddle-horses, are conveying 
their masters to the same deetiiiatLon. The streets are 
thronged with a vast concourse of people, gay and shabby, 
rich and poor, idle and industrious ; and we come to the hea^ 
bustle, and actiTity of Noon. 



CHAPTER n. 

THI BTBIR8— HIQHT. 



But the streets of London, to be beheld in the yezy height 
of their glory, should be seen on a dark, dull, murky winter's 
night, when there is just enough damp gently stealing down' 
to make the pavement greasy, without deansing it of any of 
its impurities ; and when the heavy lazy mistj, which hangs 

y 9^^ ^^ ^^Zj^^j*^ makes t&e gas-Isimps look brighter, and the 
BnlliannyligliteS shops more splendid, from the contrast they 
present to the darkness around. All the people who are a^ 
home on sudi a night as this, seem disposed to make them- 
sdves as snug and comfortable as possible ; and the passengers 
in the streets have excellent reason to envy the fortunate 

•^. individuals who are seated by their own firesides. 

In the larger and better kind of streets, dining-parloui 
curtains are dosdy drawn, kitchen fires blaze brightly up, 
and savouiy steams of hot dioners salute the nosta^ of the 
hungxy wayfisurer, as he plods wearily by the area railings. 
In i^e suburbs, the mufiin-boy rings his way down the little 
street, mudi more dowly than he is wont to do; for Mrs. 
Macklin, of No. 4, has no sooner opened her little street-door, 
and screamed out " Muffins ! " with all her might, than Mrs. 
Walker, at No. 5, puts her head out of the parlour-window, 
and screams " Muffins ! " too ; and Mrs. Waficer has scarcely 
got the words out of her lips, than Mrs. Poplow, over the 
way, lets loose Master Peplow, who darts down the street, 
'wiik a velodty which nothing but buttered muffins in per* 



THB STBBBTS—NiaHT. 81 

spectiTe oonld possibly inspire, and drags the boy back by 
main force, whereupon Mrs. Macklin and Mrs. Walker, just 
to saye the boy trouble, and to say a few neighbourly words 
to Mrs. Peplow at the same time, run over the way and buy 
their muffins at Mrs. Peplow's door, when it appears from the 
Yoluntazy statement of Mrs. Walker, that her " kittle 's just a 
biling, and the cups and sarsers ready laid," and that, as it 
was such a wretched night out o' doors, she 'd made up her 
mind to have a nice hot comfortable cup o' tea — a determina- 
tion at which, by the most singular coincidence, the other two 
ladies had simultaneously arrived. 

After a little conversation about the wretchedness of the 
weather and the merits of tea, with a digression relative to 
the vidousness of boys as a rule, and the amiability of Master 
Peplow as on exception, Mrs. Walker sees her husband 
coming down the street ; and as he must want his tea, poor 
man, after his dirfy walk from the Docks, she instantly runs 
across, muffins in hand, and Mrs. Macklin does the same, and 
after a few words to Mrs. Walker, they all pop into their little 
houses, and slam their little street-doors, whidi are not opened 
again for the remainder of the evening, except to the nine 
o'clock " beer," who comes round with a lantern in j&ont of 
Us tray, and says, as he lends Mrs. Walker " Yesterday's 
'Tiser," that he 's blessed if he can hardly hold the pot, much 
less fed the paper, for it 's one of the bitterest nights he ever 
Mt, 'cept the night when the man was frozen to death in the 
Brick-field. 

After a little prophetic conversation with the policeman at 
the street-comer, touching a probable change in the weather, 
and the setting-in of a hard frost, the nine o'clock beer returns 
to his master's house, and employs himself for the remainder 
of the evening in assiduously stirring the tap-room fire, and 
deferentially taking part in the conversation of the worthies 
assembled round it. 

The streets in the vicinity of the Marsh-gate and Victoria 
Theatre present an appearance of dirt and discomfort on such 
a night, which the groups who lounge about them in no 
degree tend to diminish. Even the little block-tin temple 
sacred to baked potatoes, surmounted by a splendid design in 
variegated lamps, looks less gay than usual; and as to the 
kidney^pie stand, its glory has qtiite departed. The candle in 
the transparent lamp, manufactured of oil-paper, embellished 

b2 



02 SKBTOHES BT BOZ. 

widi " charaoteTa," has been blown out fifty tim^, so the 
kidney-pie merchant, tired with running backwards and 
forwards to the next wine-vaults, to get a light, has given up 
the idea of iUumination in despair, and the only signs of his 
" whereabout, '' are the bright sparks, of which a long 
irregular train is whirled down the street every time he 
opens his portable oven to hand a hot kidney-pie to a 
customer. 

Flat fish, oyster, and fruit venders Hnger hopelessly in the 
kennel, in vain endeavouring to attract customers; and the 
ragged boys who usually disport themselves about the streets, 
stand crouched in little knots in some projecting doorway, or 
under the canvas blind of the cheesemonger's, where great 
fiaxing gas-lights, unshaded by any glass, display huge piles 
of bright red, and pale yellow cheeses, mingled wi^ little 
five-penny dabs of dmgy bacon, various tubs of weekly Dorset, 
and cloudy rolls of *' best fresh." 

Here they amuse themselves with theatrical converse, arising 
out of their last half-price visit to the Victoria gallery, admire 
the terrific combat, which is nightly encored, and expatiate on 
the inimitable manner in which Bill Thompson can "come the 
double monkey," or go through the mysterious involutions of 
a sailor's hornpipe. 

It is nearly eleven o'clock, and the cold thin rain which has 
been drizzling so long, is beginning to pour down in good 
earnest ; the baked-potato man has departed — ^the kidney-pie 
man has just walked away with his warehouse on his arm — 
the cheesemonger has drawn in his blind, and the boys have 
dispersed. The constant clicking of pattens on thei slippy and 
uneven pavement, and the rustling of umbrellas, as the wind 
blows against the shop-windows, bear testimony to the in- 
clemency of the night ; and the policeman, with his oU-skin 
cape buttoned closely round him, seems as he holds his hat on 
his head, and turns round to avoid the gust of wind and rain 
which drives against him at the street-comer, to be very far 
from congratulating himself on the prospect before him. 

The little chandler's shop with the cracked bell behind the 
door, whose melancholy tinkling has been regulated by the 
demand for quarterns of sugar and half-oimces of oofifee, is 
I shutting up. The crowds which have been passing to and 
•fro during the whole day, are rapidly dwindlixig away; and 
the noise of shouting and quarrelling which issues from the 



THE STRBBTS— NIGHT, 53 

public-bou868; is almost the only sound that brea!ks the melan- 
choly stillness of the night. 

Iliere was another, but it has ceased. That -wretched 
woman with the infant in her arms, round whose meagre 
fbrm the remnant of her own scanty shawl is caxefiilly 
wrapped, has been attempting to sing some popular ballad, 
in the hope of wringing a few pence from the compassionate 
passer-by. A brutal laugh at her weak voice is all she has 
gained. The tears fall thick and fast down her own pale face ; 
the diild is cold and himgry, and its low half-stifled wsiiling 
adds to the miseiy of its wretched mother, as she moans 
aload, and sinks despairingly down, on a cold damp door-step. 

Singing! How few of those who pass such a miserable 
creature as this, ^^In'tiTr of the anguish of heart, the sinking of 
soul and spirit, which the very effort of singing produces. 
Bitter mockery! Disease, neglect, and starvation, faintly 
articulating the words of the joyous ditty, that has enlivened 
your hours of feasting and merriment. God knows how 
often! It is no subject of jeering. The weak tremulous 
voice tells a fbarful tale of want and famishing; and the 
feeble singer of this Tearing song may turn away, only to die 
of cold and hunger. 

One o'clock ! Parties returning from the different theatres 
foot it through the muddy streets; cabs, hackney-coaches, 
carriages, and theatre omnibuses, roll swifHy by ; watermen 
with dim dirty lanterns in their hands, and large brass plates 
upon their breasts, who have been shouting and rushing about 
for the last two hours, retire to their watering-houses, to solace 
themselves with the creature comforts of pipes and purl ; the 
half-price pit and boK frequenters of the theatres throng to 
file different houses of refre^ment; and chops, kidneys, 
Tabbits, oysters, stout, cigars, and '' goes " innumerable, are 
flerved up amidst a noise and confrision of smoking, running, 
laufe-dattering, and waiter-chattering, perfectly indescribable. 

The more musical portion of the play-going community, 
betake themselves to some harmonic meeting. As a matter 
of cmioeity let us follow them thither for a few moments. 

In a lofty room of spacious dimensions, are seated somo 
eighty or a hundred guests knocking little pewter measures 
on the tables, and hammering away with the handles of theii 
knives, as if they were so many trunk-makers. They are 
applauding a glee, which has just been executed by the tb^eo 



M 8KBTCHBS B7 BOX. 

** piofeflsional genflemen" at the top of the oentre table, one 
of whom is in the chair — ^the little pompouB man with the 
bald head just emerging from the collar of his green ooat. 
The others are seated on either side of him — ^the stout man 
with the small voice, and the thin-faoed dark man in black. 
The little man in the chair is a most amusing personage, — 
such condescending grandeur, and meh a voice ! 

" Bass ! " as the young gentleman near us with the blue 
stock forcibly remarks to his companion, "bass! I b'lieve 
jou ; he can go down lower than any man ; so low sometimes 
that you can't hear him/' And so he does. To hear him 
growliQg away, gradually lower and lower down, till he can't 
gie^ back again, is the most delightful thing in the world, and 
it is quite impossible to witness unmoved the impressive 
solemnity with which he pours forth his soul in '' My 'art 's 
in the 'ighlands," or " The brave old Hoak." The stout man 
is also addicted to sentimentality, and warbles '' Fly, fly from 
ihe world, my Bessy, with me," or some such song, with lady- 
like sweetness, and in the most seductive tones imaginable. 

*' Pray give your orders, gen'l'men — ^pray give your orders," 
—says the pale-fiEU»d man with the red head ; and demands 
for " goes " of gin and '' goes " of brandy, and pints of stout, 
and cigars of peculiar mildness, are vociferously made from 
all parts of the room. The " professional gentlemen " are in 
the very height of their glory, and bestow condescending nods, 
or even a word or two of recognition on the better known 
frequenters of the room, in the most bland and patronising 
manner possible. 

That little round-faced man, with the small brown snrtout, 
white stoddngs and shoes, is in the comic line ; the mixed air 
of self-denial, and mental consciousness of his own powers, 
with which he acknowledges the call of the chair, is par- 
ticularly gratifying. " O^'l'men," says the little pompous 
man, accompanying the word with a knock of ilie president's 
hammer on the table—" Gen'l'men, allow me to daim your 
attention — our friend, Mr. Smuggins will oblige." — " Bravo! " 
shout the company ; and Smuggins, after a considerable 
quantity of coughing by way of fiymphony, and a most 
facetious sni£^ or two, wHch afford general delight, sings a 
comic song, with a fal-de-ral — ^tol-de-rol chorus at tiie end of 
every verse, much longer than the verse itself. It is received 
with unbounded applause, and after some aspiring genius has 



SHOPS AND THBIB TBNANTfi. 55 

Tolimteered a redtatioii, and failed dismally therein, the little 
pompous man gives another knock, and says, '' GenTmen, we 
will attempt a glee, if yon please." This announcement calls 
forth tomnltaoos applause, and the more energetic spirits 
express the unqualified approbation it affords them, by knock- 
ing one or two stout glasses off their legs — a humorous 
device ; but one which frequently occasions some slight alter- 
cation when the form of paying the damage is proposed to be 
gone through by the waiter. 

Scenes like these are continued until three or four o'clock 
in the morning ; and even when they dose, fresh ones open 
to the inquisitive novice. But as a description of all of them, 
however slight, would require a volume, the contents of which, 
however instructive, would be by no means pleasing, we make 
our bow, and drop the curtain. 



CHAPTER ni. 



SHOPS AND THXIB TXITAinRS. 



What inezhaustible food for speculation, do the streets of 
London afford ! We never were able to agree with Sterne in 
pitying the man who could travel from Dan to Beersheba, and ^ 
say that all was barren ; we have not the slightest commisera- 
tion f6r the man who can take up his hat and stick, and walk 
from Ckyvent Garden to St. Papl's Churchyard, and back into 
the batrgain, without deriving some amusement — ^we had 
almost said instruction — ^from his perambulation. And yet_ 
there are such beings: we meet them every day. Large 
black stocks and light waistcoats, jet canes and discontented 
countenances, are the characteristics of the race ; other people 
brush quickly by you, steadily plodding on to business, or 
cheerfrdly running after pleasure. These men linger listiessly 
past, looking as happy and animated as a policeman on duty, v 
^y'Tfcthmg seems to make an impression on their minds : nothing 
V short of being knocked down by a porter, or run over by a cab, 
^ will disturb tiieir equanimitjp You will meet them on a fine 
day in any of the leading thoroughfares : peep through the 
W^ow of a west-end oigar-shop in the evening, if you can 



^ SKBTCHES BT BOZ. 

maaage to get a glimpse between the blue curtains whioh 
intercept the vulgar gaze, and you see them in their only 
<^ enjoyment of existence. There they are lounging about, on 
round tubs and pipe-boxes, in all the dignity of whiskers and 
gilt watch-guards; whispering soft nothings to the young lady 
in amber, with the large ear-rings, who, as she sits behind the 
counter in a blaze of adoration and gas-light, is the admira- 
tion of all the female servants in the neighbourhood, and the 
envy of eveiy milliner's apprentice within two miles round. 

One of our principal amusements is to watch the gradual 
progress — the rise pr fSaH — of particular shops. We have 
formed an intimate acquaintance with several, in different 
parts of town, and are perfectly acquainted with their whole 
history. We could name off-hand, twenty at leasts which we 
are quite sure have paid no taxes for the last six years. Tfaay 
are never inhabited for more than two months consecutively, 
and, we verily beHeve, have witnessed every retail trade in 
the directory. 

There is one, whose history is a sample of the rest, in whose 

(fate we have taken especial interest, having had the pleasure 
of knowing it ever since it has been a shop. It is on the 
Surrey side of the water — a little distance beyond the Marsh- 
gate. It was originally a substantial, good-lookiag private 
house enough; the landlord got into difficulties, the house 
got into Chancery, the tenant went away, and the house went 
to ruin. At this period our acquaintance with it commenced : 
the paint was all worn off; tlie windows were broken, the 
area was green with neglect and the overflowings of ih.e 
water-butt ; the butt itself was without a lid, and the 49treet- 
door was tilie very picture of misery. The chief pastime of 
the children in the vicinity had been to assemble in a body on 
the steps, and take it in turn to knock loud double-knocks at 
the door, to the great satisfaction of the neighbours generally, 
and especially of the nervous old lady next door but one. 
Nimierous complaints were made, and several small basins of 
water discharged over the offenders, but without effect. In 
this state of things, the marine-store dealer at the comer of 
the street, in the most obliging manner tookJh&JaiaQkaL.off, 
and sold it : and the unfortimate house looked more wretched 
than ever. 

We deserted our Mend, for fi few weeks. What w^as onx 
surprise, on our rctum,'lo £nd no trace of its existenoei la 



SHOPS iND THBIB TBNANTS. 57 

its place was a haadeome shop, fast approaching to a state of 
oompletiony and on the sbutters were large bills, informing 
the public that it would shortly be opened with '' an extensive 
stock of li^en-drapeiy and haberdashery." It opened in due 
course ; there w^ the name of the proprietor '' and Co." in 
gilt letters, almost too dazysh'tig to look at. Such ribbons and 
shawls ! and two such elegant young men behind the counter, 
each in a dean collar and white neok>cLoth, like the lover in 
a £Eu:oe. As to the proprietor, he did nothing but walk up 
and down the shop, and hand seats to the ladies, and hold 
important conversations with the handsomest of the young 
men, who was shrewdly suspected by the neighbours to be the 
'* Co." We saw all this with sorrow ; we felt a fatal pre- 
sentiment that the shop was doomed — and so it was. Its 
decay was slow, but sure. Tickets gradually appeared in the 
windows; then rolls of flannels, with labels on them, ware 
stuck outside the door ; then a bill was pasted on the street- 
door, intimating that the flrst floor was to let unpunished ; 
then one of the young men disappeared altogether, and the 
other took to a black neckerchief, and the proprietor took 
to drinking. The shop became dirty, broken panes of glass 
remained uxmiended, and the stock disappeared piecemeal. 
At last the company's man came, to out off the water, and 
then the linendraper cut oS himself, leaving the landlord his . 
compliments and the key. 

The next occupant was a fancy stationer. The shop was 
more modestly painted than before, still it was neat; but 
somehow we always thought, as we passed, that it looked like 
a.poor and struggling concern. We wished the man well, but 
we trembled for his success. He was a widower evidently, 
and had employment elsewhere, for he passed us every mom-^ 
ing on his road to the city. The business was carried on by 
his eldest daughter. Poor girl! she needed no assistance* 
We occasionally caught a glimpse of two or three children, 
in mourning like herself, as they sat in the little parlour 
behind the shop; and we never passed at night without 
seeing the eldest girl at work, either ica them, or in making 
some elegant little trifle for sale. We often thought, as her 
pale face looked more sad and pensive in the dim candle-lighl^ 
that if those thoughtless females who interfere with the miser- 
able market of poor creatures such as these, knew but one 
half of the wsGry they suffer, and the bitter privations they 



53 8KSTCHHB B7 BOZ. 

endure, in their honourable attompts to earn a scaniy sob- 
metence, they would, perhaps, resign even opportunities for 
the gratification of vanity, and an immodest love of self« 
displaj, rather than drive them to a last dreadful resource, 
which it would shock the delicate feelings of these charitahls 
ladies to hear named. 
^ But we are forgetting the shop. Well, we continued to 
watch it, and eveiy day showed too clearly the increasing 
poverty of its inmates. The children were dean, it is true, 
but their clothes were threadbare and shabby ; no tenant had 
been procured for the upper part of the house, from the letting 
of which, a portion of the means of paying the rent was to 
have be^i derived, and a slow, wasting consumption prevented 
the eldest girl from continuing her exertions. Quart6r-4ajr 
arrived. The landlord had suffered frrom the extravagance of 
^his last tenant, and he had no compassion for the struggles of 
his successor; he put in an execution. As we passed one 
morning, the broker's men were removing the little furniture 
there was in the house, and a newly posted bill infi)rmed us 
it was again '' To Let." What became of the last tenant we 
never could leam ; we believe the girl is past all suffering, 
and beyond all sorrow. God help her ! We hope she is. 

We were somewhat curious to ascertain what would be the 
next stage — ^for that the place had no chance of succeeding 
now, was perfectly dear. The bill was soon taken down, and 
some alteratio];Ls were being made in the interior of the shop. 
We were in a fever of expectation ; we exhausted conjecture — 
we imagined all possible trades, none of which were perfisctly 
reconcilable with our idea of the gradual decay of the tenement. 
It opened, and we wondered why we had not guessed at the 
real state of the case before, llie shop — ^not a large one at 
the best of times — ^had been converted into two : one was a 
bonnet-shape maker's, the other was op^ied by a tobacconist, 
who also dealt in walking-sticks and Sunday newspapers ; the 
two were separated by a thin partition, covered with tawdry 
striped paper. 

The tobacconist remained in possession longer than any 
tenant within our recollection. He was a red-fiEU»d, im- 
pudent, good-for-nothing dog, evidently accustomed to take 
things as they came, and to make the best of a bad job. He 
sold as many cigars as he could, and smoked the rest. He 
occupied the shop as long as he could make peace with the 



BOOTLAKD-TABD. 59 

landlord, and when lie oonld no longer live in quiet, lie very 
eooU J locked the door, and bolted himself. From this period, 
the two little dens have undergone innumerable changes. The 
tobacconist was succeeded by a theatrical hair-dresser, who 
conamented the window with a great Yaxiety of " characters," 
and terrific combats. The bonnet-shape maker gave place to 
a gieen-grocer, and the histrionic barber was succeeded, in 
his turn, by a tailor. So numerous have been the changes, 
that we have of late done little more than mark the peculiar 
but certain indications of a house being poorly inhabited. It 
has been progressing by almost imperceptible degrees. The i 
occupiers of the shops have gradually given up room after | 
room, until they have only reserved the little parlour fory 
themiselves. First there appeared a brass plate on the private/ 
door, with ''Ladies' School" I^bly engraved thereon ; shoriLy 
afterwards we observed a second brass plate, then a bell, and 
then another bell. 

• When we paused in front of our old Mend, and observed 
these signs of poverty, which are not to be mistaken, we 
thought as we turned away, that the house had attained its 
lowest pitch of degradation. We were wrong. When we 
last passed it, a " dairy " was established in ti^e area, and a 
party of melancholy-looking fowls were amusiTig themselves 
by running in at the j&ont door, and out at the back one. 



CHAPTER IV. 

BCOTLAND-TABD 



ScoTULND-YABB is a Small — ^a very small — ^tract of land, 
bounded on one side by the river Thames, on the other by the 
gardens of Northumberland House : abutting at one end on 
^e bottom of Northumberland-street, at the other on the back 
of Whitehall-place. When this territory was first aoddentally 
discovered by^ country gendemMx who lost his way in the 
Strand, some years ago, the original settlers were found to be 
a tailor, a publican, two eating-house keepers, and a fruit-pie 
maker ; and it was also found to contain a race of strong and 
bulky men, who repaired to the whaz& in Scotland-yazd 



60 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

regularly every mombg, about fire or six o'clock, to fill 
heavy waggons witii coal, with which they proceeded to 
distant places up the country, and supplied the inhabitants 
with fuel. When they had emptied their waggons, they 
again returned for a fresh supply ; and this trade w«ks eon- 
tinued throughout the year. 

As the settlers derived their subsistence frcmi tninistering 
to the wants of these primitiTe traders, tiie articles exposed 
for sale, and the places where they were sold, bore strong 
outward marks of being expressly adapted to their tastes and 
wishes. The tailor displayed in his window a Lilliputian 
pair of leather gaiters, and a diminutive round -frock, while 
each doorpost was appropriately garnished with a model of a 
coal-sack. The two eating-house keepers exhibited joints of 
a magnitude, and puddings of a solidity, which ooalheavers 
alone could appreciate ; and the fruit-pie maker displayed on 
his well-scrubbed window-board large white compositions of 
flour and dripping, ornamented with pink stains, giving rich 
promise of the fruit within, which made their huge mouths 
water, as they lingered past. 

But the dioicest spot in aH Scotland-yard was the old 
public house in the comer. Here, in a dark wainscotted- 
room of ancient appearance, cheered by the glow of a mighty 
fire, and decorated with an enormous dock, whereof ihe face 
was white, and the figures black, sat the lusty coalheavers, 
quaffing large draughts of Barclay's best, and puffing forth 
volumes of smoke, which wreathed heavily above their heads, 
and involved the room in a thick dark doud. From this 
apartment might their voices be heard on a winter's night, 
penetrating to the very bank of the river,, as they shouted out 
some sturdy chorus, or roared forth the burden of a popular 
song ; dwelling upon the last few words with a strength and 
length of emphasis which made the very roof tremble above 
them. 

Here, too, would thejr tell old l^ends of what the Thames 
was in ancient times, when the Patent Shot Manufactory 
wasn't built, and Waterloo-bridge had never been thought of; 
and then they would shake their heads with portentous iooks^ 
to the deep edification of the rising generation of hea'v^rs^ 
who crowded round them, and wondered where all this ^ould 
end ; whereat the tailor would take his pipe solemnly from 
his mouth, and say, how that he hoped it might eini well, but 



SOOTIiANB-TARD. 61 

ha veiy much doubted whether it would or uot^ and couldn't 
rightly tell what to make of it — a myaterious expression of 
opinion, delivered with a semi-prophetio air, which never 
MLed to elicit the fallest concurrence of the assembled 
company ; and so they would go on drinking and wondering 
till ten o'clock came, and with it the tailor's wife to fetch him 
hoau^, wheu the Htde party broke up, to meet again in the 
same room, and say and do precisely the same things on the 
following evening at the same hour. 

About this time the barges that came up the river began 
to bring vague rumours to Scotland-yard of somebody in the 
dty. having been heard to say, that the Lord Mayor had 
threatened in so many words to pull down the old London- 
bridge, and build up a new one. At first these rumours were 
diaiegarded as idle tales, whoUy destitute of foundation, for 
nobody in Scotlaud-yard doubted that if the Lord Mayor con- 
templated, any such dark design, he would just be clapped up 
in the Tower for a week or two, and then killed off for high 
treason. 

By degrees, however, the reports grew stronger, and more 
frequent, and at last a barge, laden with numerous chaldrons 
of the best Wallseud, brought up the positive intelligence/ 
that several of the arches of the old bridge were stopped, and 
that preparations were actually in progress for constructing 
the new one. What an excitement was visible in the old tap- 
room on that memorable night ! Each man looked into his 
neighbour's face, pale with alarm and astoniflbment, and read 
therein an echo of the sentiments which filled his own breast. ^ 
The oldest heaver present proved to demonstration, that the 
moment the piers were removed, all the water in the Thames 
would run dean off, and leave a dry gully in its place. What 
was to become .of the coal-bai^es— of the trade of Scotland- 
yard — of the very existence of its population? The tailor 
shook his head more sagely than usual, and grimly pointing 
to a knife on the table, bid them wait and see what happened. 
He said nothing — not he ; but if the Lord Mayor didn't fall 
a Yi<^m^tn.popHlAr.,ipdigiiatipP> why he would be rather 
astonished ; that was all. 

They did wait; barge after barge arrived, and still no 
tidings of the assassination of the Lord Mayor. The first 
stone was laid : it was done by a Duke — ^the King's brother. 
Years passed away, and the bridge was opened by the King 



03 SEBTCHES BT BOZ. 

himBelf. In course of time, the piers were removed; and 
whto the people in Scotland-yard got up next morning in the 
confident expectation of being able to step over to Pedlar's 
Acre without wetting the soles of their shoes, thej found to 
their unspeakable astonishment that the water was just where 
it used to be. 

A result so different from that which they had anticipated 
from this first improvement, produced its fiill effect upon the 
inhabitants of Scotland-yard. One of the eating-house keepers 
began to court public opinion, and to look for customers 
among a new class of pe(^e. He covered his little dining- 
tables with white doths, and got a painter's apprentice to 
inscribe something about hot joints from twelve to two, m one 
of the little panes of his shop-window. Improvement began 
to march witii rapid strides to the very threshold of Scotland- 
yard. A new market sprung up at Hungerford, and the 
Police Commissioners establiidied their office in Whitehall- 
place. The traffic in Scotknd-yard increased; fresh Members 
were added to the House of Commons, the Metropolitan 
Representatives found it a near cut, and many other foot 
passengers followed their example. 

We marked the advance of civilisation, and beheld it with 
a sigh. The eating-house keeper who manfully resisted the 
innovation of table-doths, was losing grouhd every day, as 
his opponent gained it, and a deadly feud sprung up between 
them. The genteel one no longer took his evening's pint in 
Scotknd-yard, but drank gin and water at a " parlour " in 
Parliament-street. The fruit-pie maker still continued to 
visit the old room, but he took to smoking cigars, and began 
to call himself a pastrycook, and to read the papers. The old 
heavers still assembled round the ancient fireplace, but their 
talk was moumfdl : and the loud song and the joyous shout 
were heard no more. 

And what is Scotland-yard now? How have its old 
customs changed ; and how has the ancient simplidty of its 
inhabitants faded away! The old tottering public-house is 
converted into a spadous and lofty " wine-vaults ; " gold leaf 
has been used in the construction of the letters whidi em- 
blasson its exterior, and the poet's art has been called into 
requisition, to intimate that if you drink a certain description 
of ale, you must hold fast by the rail. The tailor exhibits in 
his window the pattern of a fordgn-looking brown surtou^ 



SOOTLANB-TABIX M 

with silk buttoziB, a fur collar and fur cufb. He wears a 
stripe down the outside of each leg of his trousers : and we 
have detected his assistants (for he has assistants now) in the 
act of sitting on the shop-board in the same uniform. 

At the other end of the little row of houses a boot-maker 
has established himself in a brick box, with the additional 
innovation of a first floor ; and here he exposes for sale, boots 
— real Wellington boots — an article which a few years ago, 
none of the original inhabitants had ever seen or heard ofl 
It was but the other day, that a dress-maker opened another 
little box in the middle of the row; and, when we thought 
that the spirit of change could produce no alteration beyond 
that, a jeweller appeared, and not content with exposing gilt 
rings and copper bracelets out of number, put up an announce- 
ment, which still sticks in his window, that '' ladies' ears may 
be pieroed within." The dress-maker employs a young lady 
wbo weazB pockets in her apron ; and the tailor informs the 
pdUio tihat gentlemen may have their own materials made up. 

Amidst all this change, and restlessness, and innovation, 
there remains but one old man, who seems to mourn the 
downfall of this ancient place. He holds no converse with 
human kind, but, seated on a wooden bench at the angle of 
the wall which j&onts the crossing from Whitehall-place^ 
watches in silence the gambols of his sleek and well-fed dogs. 
He is the presiding genius of ScotLaud-yard. Years and years 
have rolled over his head ; but, in fine weather or in f ouJ^ hot 
or cold, wet or dry, hail, rain, or snow, he is still in his 
accustomed spot. Misery and want are depicted in his 
countenance ; his form is bent by age, his head is gray with 
length of trial, but there he sits from day to day, brooding 
over the past; and thither he will continue to drag his feeble 
limbs, until his eyes have closed upon Scotland-yard, and 
upom the world together. 

A few years hence, and the antiquary of another generation 
looking into some mouldy record of the strife and passions 
that agitated the world in these times, may glance his eye 
over the pages we have just filled : and not all his knowledge 
sf the history of the past, not all his black-letter lore, or his 
ddU in book-ooUecting, not all the dry studies of a long lifd, 
or the dusty volumes that have cost him a fortune, may help 
him to the whereabouts, either of Scotland-yard, or of any 
one of the landmarks we have mentioned in describing iL 



61 SEBTGHES BT BOZ. 



CEtAPtEll y. 

BXYEN DIALS* 

We have always been of bpimon that if Tom King and the 
Frenchman had not immortalised Seven Dials, Seven Dials 
would have immortalised itself. Seven Dials ! the region of 
song and poetry — fbst efi^isions, and last dying speeches: 
hallowed by the names of Catiiaohand of Pitts — ^names that 
will entwine themselves with costermongers, and barrel organs, 
when pemiy magazines shall have superseded penny yards of 
song, and capital punishment be unknown ! 

Look at the construction of the place. The gordian knot 
was all very well in its way : so was the maze of Hampton 
Ck)urt: so is the maee at ihe Beulah Spa: so were the ties 
of stiff white neckcloths, when the difficulty of getting one on, 
was only to be equalled by the apparent impossibility of ever 
getting it oS again. But what involutions can compare with 
those of Seven Dials ? Where is thei^ such another maee of' 
streets; courts, laties, and alleys ? Where such a pure mix- 
ture of RngliriiTtieD. and Irishmen, as in this complicated pairt ' 
of London ? We bddly aver that we doubt the veracity of 
the legend to which we have adverted. We can suppose a 
man rash enough to inquiie at random — at a house with 
lodgers too— for 'a Mr. Thompson, with all but the certainty 
before his eyes; of finding at least two or three Thompsons in 
any house of moderate dimeEosions ; but a Frenchman — a 
Frenehman in Seven Dials I Pooh ! He was an Irishman. 
Tom King's education had been neglected in his infancy, and 
as he couldn't understand half the man said, he took it for 
granted he was talking French. 

The stranger who finds himself in ''The Dials'' for the 
first time, and stands Belzoni-like, at the ' entrance of seven 
obscure passages, imoertain which to take, will see enough 
around him to keep his curiosity and attention awake for no 
inconsiderable time. From the irregular square into which 
he has plunged, the streets and courts dart in all directions, 
until they are lost in the unwholesome vapoiir which hangs 
over the houso*tops, and renders the dirty perspective, unoer- 



ttJ.-- -» 







SBYBN DIALS. 65 

tain and confined; and lounging at ereiy comer, as if they 
eamd there to take a few gasps of snch fresh air as has found 
its way so fiar, but is too much exhausted already, to be 
enabled to force itself into the narrow alleys around, are 
groups of people, whose appearance and dwellings would fill 
any mind but a regular Londoner's with astonishment. 

On one side, a little crowd has collected round a couple of / 
ladies, who having imbibed the contents of various '' three- 
outs " of gin and bitters in the course of the morning, have 
at length differed on some point of domestic arrangement, and 
are on the eve of settling the quarrel satisfactorily, by an 
appeal to blows, greatly to the interest of other ladies who 
live in the same house, and tenements adjoining, and who 
are all partisans on one side or other. 

" Vy don't you pitch into her, Sarah ? " exclaims one half- 
dressed matron, by way of encouragement. " Vy don't you ? 
if my 'usband had treated her with a drain last night, unbe- 
known to me, I 'd tear her precious eyes out — a wixen ! " 

*' What 's the matter, ma'am ? " inquires another old 
woman, who ha^ just bustled up to the spot. 

" Matter!" replies the first speaker, talking at the obnoxious 
combatant, "matter! Here's poor dear Mrs. Sulliwin, as 
has five blessed children of her own, can't go out a charing 
fi>r one axtemoon, but what hussies must be a comin', and 
'tidng avay her oun' 'usband, as she 's been married to twelve 
year come next Easter Monday, for I see the certificate ven I 
vas a drinkin' a cup o' tea vith her, only the worry last 
blessed Ven'sday as ever was sent. I 'appen'd to say pro- 
miscuously ' Mrs. Sulliwin', says I " 

" What do you mean by hussies ? " interrupts a champion 
of the other party, who has evinced a strong inclination 
throughout to get up a branch fight on her own account 
("Hooroar," ejaculates a pot-boy in parenthesis, "put the 
kye-bosk on her, Mary ! "), "What do you mean by hussies?' 
mtearatee the champion. 

*' Nivor mind," replies the opposition expressively, "niver 
mind ; ymi go home, and, ven you 're quite sober, mend your 
atock^:ig8." 

This somewhat personal allusion, not only to the lady's 
habits of intemperance, but also to ^e state of her wardrobe, 
Tooses her utmost ire, and she accordingly complies with the 
nrgsnt request of the bystanders to " pitch in," with com^der- 



66 8ESTCHSS BT BOZ. 

able alacrity. The scuffle became general, and terminated in 
minor play-bill pbraaeology, with '' arrival of the polioemen, 
interior of the station-house, and impressive denouement," 

In addition to the numerous groups who are idling about 
the gin-shops and squabbling in the centre of the road, every 
post in the open space has its occupant, who leans against it 
for hours, with listless perseverance. It is odd enough that 
one class of men in London appear to have no enjoyment 
beyond leaning against posts. We never saw a regular 
bricklayer's labourer take any other recreation, fighting 
excepted. Pass through St. Giles's in the evening of a week- 
day, there they are in their fustian dresses, spotted with brick- 
dust and whitewash, leaning against posts. Walk through 
Seven Dials on Sunday morning : there they are again, drab 
or light corduroy trousers, Blucher boots, blue coats, and 
great yellow waistcoats, leaning against posts. The idea of a 
man dressing himself in his best clothes, to lean against a 
post all day ! 

The peculiar character of these streets, and the dose resem- 
blance each one bears to its neighbour, by no means tends to 
decrease the bewilderment in which the unexperienced way- 
farer through "The Dials" finds himself involved. He 
traverses streets of dirty, straggling houses, with now and 
then an unexpected coiurt composed of buildings as ill-pro- 
portioned and deformed as the half-naked children that wallow 
in the kennels. Here and there, a little dark chandler's shop, 
with a cracked beU. hung up behind the door to announce the 
entrance of a customer, or betray the presence of some young 
gentleman in whom a passion for shop tills has developed itself 
at an early age : others, as if for support, against some hand- 
some lofty building, which usurps the place of a low dingy 
public-house; long rows of broken and patched windows 
expose plants that may have flourished when " The Dials " 
were built, in vessels as dirty as "The Dials" themselves; 
and shops for the purchase of rags, bones, old iron, and 
kitchen-stufif, vie in cleanliness with the bird-fanciers and 
rabbit-dealers, which one might fancy so many arks, but for 
the irresistible conviction that no bird in its proper senses, 
who was permitted to leave one of them, would ever come back 
again. Brokers' shops, which would seem to have been 
established by humane individuals, as refuges for destitute 
bugs, interspersed with announcements of day-schools, penny 



SBYSN DIALS. 67 

theatres, petition-writers, mangles, and music for balls or ronts, 
complete the " still life " of the subject ; and dirty men, filthy 
women, squalid children, fluttering shuttlecocks, noisy battle- 
dores, reeking pipes, bad fruit, more than doubtful oysters, 
attenuated cats, depressed dogs and anatomical fowls, are its 
cheerM accompaniments. 

If the external appearance of the houses, or a glance at 
their inhabitants, present but few attractions, a closer acquaint' 
ance with either is littie calculated to alter one's first impression. 
Every room has its separate tenant, and every tenant is, by 
the same mysterious dispensation which causes a country 
curate to ''increase and multiply'' most manreUously, generally 
the head of a numerous family. 

The man in the shop, perhaps, is in the baked ''jemmy" line, 
or the firewood and hearth-stone line, or any other line which 
requires a floating capital of eighteen pence or thereabouts : 
and he and his family live in the shop, and the small back 
parlour behind it. Then there is an Irish labourer and his 
family in the back kitchen, and a jobbing-man— carpet-beater 
and so forth — ^with his family in the fix>nt one. In the front 
one-pair, there 's another man with another wife and family, 
and in the back one-pair, there 's " a young 'oman as takes in 
tambour-work, and dresses quite genteel," who talks a good 
deal about "my friend," and can't, "abear anything low." 
The second floor front, and the rest of the lodgers, are just a 
second edition of the people below, except a shabby-genteel 
man in the back attic, who has his half-pint of coffee every 
morning from the coffee-shop next door but one, which boaste 
a little front den called a coffee-room, with a fire-place, over 
which is an inscription, poHtely requesting that, " to prevent 
mistakes," customers will " please to pay on delivery." The 
shabby-genteel man is an object of some mystery, but as he 
leads a life of seclusion, and never was known to buy anything 
beyond an occasional pen, except half-pints of coffee, penny 
loaves, and ha'porths of ink, his fellow-lodgers very naturally 
suppose him to be an author ; and rumours are current in the 
Dials, that he writes poems for Mr. Warren. 

Now any body who passed through the Dials on a hot 
summer's evening, and saw the different women of the house 
gossiping on the steps, would be apt to think that all was 
harmony among them, and that a more primitive set of 
people than the native Diallers could not be imagined. Alas • 

v2 



68 SEBTCHES BT BOZ. 

the man in the shop illtreats his family; the carpet-beater 
extends his professional pursuits to his wife ; the one-pair front 
has an undying feud with the two-pair front, in consequence 
of the two-pair d&ont persisting in dancing over his (the one- 
pair front's) head, when he and his family have retired for 
the night ; the two-pair back vnll interfere with the front 
kitchen's children ; the Irishman comes home drunk eveiy 
other night, and attacks every body ; and the one pair back 
screams at evejy thing. Animosities spring up between floor 
and floor; the very cellar asserts his equality. Mrs. A. 
««smacks" Mrs. B.'s child, for ''making faces." Mrs. B. forth- 
with throws cold water over Mrs. A.'s child, for " calling 
names." The husbands are embroiled — ^the quairel becomes 
general — an adsault is the consequence, and a polioe-qfficer 
the result. 



CHAPTER VI. 

HXDlTATIOim nr XONllOXTTH-STBBBf. 



We have always CTitertained a particular attachment towards 
^lonmouth Street, as the only true and real emporium' for 
second-hand wearing apparel. Monmouth-street is venerable 
from its antiquity, and respectable from its usefrdness. 
Holywell street we despise; the red-headed and red-whiskered 
Jews who forcibly haul you into their squalid houses, and 
thrust you into a suit of clothes, whether you will or not, we 
detest. 

The inhabitants of Monmouth-street ore a distinct class ; a 
peaceable and retiring race, who immure themselves for the 
most part in deep cellars, or small back parlours, and who 
seldom come forth into the world, except in the dusk and 
coolness of evening, when they may be seen seated, in chairs 
on the pavement, smoking their pipes, or watching the 
gambols of their engaging children as they revel in the gutter, 
a happy troop of infantine scavengers. Their coimtenances 
bear a thoughtful and a dirty cast, certain indications of their 
love of traffic ; and their habitations are distinguished by that 
disregard of outward appearance, and neglect of personal 
comfort, so common among people who are oonstantly 




tpn CtimMio 



CnHMiomio 






HBDITATIONS IN MONMOUTH-STEEET. 69 

immersed in profound speculations, and deeply engaged in 
sedentary pursuits. 

We have hinted at the antiquity of our favourite spot. " A 
Monmouth-street laced coat " was a by-word a century ago ; 
and still we find Monmouth-street the same. Pilot great-coats 
with wooden buttons, have usurped the place of the ponderous 
laced coats with full skirts ; embroidered waistcoats with large 
fLEL'pSy have yielded to double-breasted checks with roU-coUars ; 
and three-cornered hats of quaint appearance, have given 
place to the low crowns and broad brims of the coachman 
school ; but it is the times that have changed, not Monmouth- 
street. Through every alteration and every change, Mon- 
mouth-street has still remained the burial-place of the 
fashions ; and such, to judge £rom all present appearances, it 
will remain until there are no more fashions to bury. 

We love to walk among these extensive groves of the 
illustrious dead, and to indulge in the speculatioDs to which 
they give rise ; now fitting a deceased coat, then a dead pair 
of trousers, and anon the mortal remains of a gaudy waist- 
coat, upon some being of our own conjuring up, and endea- 
vouring ^m the shape and fashion of the garment itself, to 
bring its former owner before our mind's eye. We have gone 
on speculating in this way, imtil whole rows of coats have 
started from their pegs, and buttoned up, of their own accord, 
round the waists of imaginary wearers ; lines of trousers have 
jumped down to meet them; waistcoats have almost burst 
with anxiety to put themselves on ; and half an acre of shoes 
have suddenly found feet to fit them, and gone stumping down 
the street with a noise which has fairly awakened us ftom our 
pleasant reverie, and driven us slowly away, with a bewildered 
stare, an object of astonishment to the good people of Mon- 
mouth-street, and of no slight suspicion to the policeman at 
the opposite street comer. 

We were occupied in this manner the other day, endea- 
vouring to fit a pair of lace-up half-boots on an ideal per- 
sonage, for whom, to say the truth, they were full a couple of 
Buses too small, when our eyes happened to flight on a few 
suits of clothes ranged outside a shop-window, which it imme- 
diately struck us, must at different periods have all belonged 
to, and been worn by, the same individual, and had now, by 
one of those strange conjunctions of circumi^tanoes which will 
occur sometimes^ come to be exposed together for sale in the 



70 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

Bome shop. The idea seemed a faatastic one, and we looked 
at the clothes again, with a firm determination not to be 
easily led away. No, we were right ; the more we looked, 
the more we were convinced of the accuracy of our previous 
impression. There was the man's whole life written as legibly 
on those clothes, as if we had his autobiography engrossed on 
parchment before us. 

The first was a patched and much-soiled skeleton suit ; one 
of those straight blue doth cases in which small boys used to 
be confined before belts and tunics had come in, and old 
notions had gone out : an ingenious contrivance for displaying 
the full symmetiy of a boy's figure, by fastening him into a 
very tight jacket, with an ornamental row of buttons over 
eadi shoulder, and then buttoning his trousers over it, so as 
to give his legs the appearance of being hooked on, just under 
the armpits. This was the boy's dress. It had belonged to a 
town boy, we could see ; there was a shortness about the legs 
and arms of the suit, and a bagging at the knees, peculiar to 
the rising youth of* London streets. A small day-school he 
had been at, evidently. If it had been a regular boys' school 
they wouldn't have let him play on the floor so much, and 
rub his knees so white. He had an indulgent mother, too, 
and plenty of hal^ence, as the numerous smears of some 
sticky substance about the pockets, and just below the chin, 
which even the salesman's skill could not succeed in dis- 
guising, sufficiently betokened. They were decent people, but 
not overburdened with riches, or he would not have so far 
outgrown the suit when he passed into those corduroys with 
the round jacket ; in which he went to a .boys' school, how- 
ever, learnt to write — and in ink of pretty tolerable blackness, 
too, if the place where he used to wipe his pen might be 
taken as evidence. 

A black suit and the jacket changed into a diminutive coat 
His father had died, and the mother had got the boy a 
message-lad's place in some office. A long-worn suit that 
one ; rusty and threadbare before it was laid aside, but clean 
and free fron^soil to the last. Poor woman! We could 
imagine her assumed cheerfulness over the scanty meal, and 
the refusal of her own small portion, that her hungry boy 
might have enough. Her constant anxiety for his welfeu^e, 
her pride in his growth, mingled sometimes with the thought, 
almost too acute to bear, that as he grew to be a man his old 



MEDITATIONS IK MONMOUTH 8TBEBT. 71 

affection miglit cool, old kindnesses fade from his mind, and 
old promises be forgotten — ^the sharp pain that even then a 
careless word or a cold look would give her — all crowded on 
onr thoughts as yiyidly as if the veiy scene were passing 
before ns. 

These things happen every hour, and we all know it ; and 
yet we felt as much sorrow when we saw, or fancied we saw 
— ^it makes no difference which — the change that began to 
take place now, as if we had just conceived the bare possibility 
of such a thing for the first time. The next suit^ smart but 
slovenly ; meant to be gay, and yet not half so decent as the 
threadbare apparel; redolent of the idle lounge, and the 
blackguard companions, told ms, we thought, that the widow's 
comfort had rapidly faded away. We could imagine that coat 
— ^imagine ! we could see it ; we had seen it a hundred times 
— sauntering in company with three or four other coats of the 
same cut, about some place of profligate resort at night. 

We dressed from the same eJiop-window in an instant, half 
a dozen boys of from fifteen to twenty ; and putting cigars 
into their mouths, and their hands into their pockets, watched 
them as they sauntered down the street, and lingered at the 
comer, with ^Q obscene jest, and the oft-repeated oath. We 
never lost sight of them, till they had cocked their hats a 
little more on one side, and swaggered into the public-house ; ' 
and then we entered the desolate home, where the mother sat 
late in the night, alone ; we watched her, as she paced the 
room in feverish anxiety, and every now and then opened the 
door, looked wistfully into the dark and empty street, and 
again returned, to be again and again disappointed. We 
beheld the look of patience with which she bore the brutish 
threat, nay, even the drunken blow ; and we heard the agony 
of tears that gushed from her veiy heart, as she sank upon 
her knees in her solitary and wretched apartment. 

A long period had elapsed, and a greater change had taken 
place, by the time of casting off the suit that hung above. It 
was that of a stout, broad-shouldered, sturdy-chested man; 
and we knew at once, as any body would, who glanced at that 
broad-skirted green coat, with the large metal buttons, that its 
wearer seldom walked forth without a dog at his heeb, and 
some idle ruffian, the vexy counterpart of himself, at his side. 
The vioes of the boy had grown |Kth the man^ and we feuicied 
his home then — ^if such a place deserve the name. 



7» 8KSX0HES BT BOZ. 

We saw the bare and miserable room, destitute of &initiire^ 
crowded with his wife and children, pale, hungry, and 
emaciated ; the man cursing their lamentations, staggering to 
the tap-room, from whence he had just returned, followed by 
his wife, and a sickly infant, clamouring for bread ; and heard 
the street-wrangle and noisy recrimination that his striking 
ther occasioned. And then imagination led us to some 
Wetropolitan workhouse, situated in the midst of crowded 
streets and alleys, filled with noxious vapours, and ringing 
with boisterous cries, where an old and feeble woman, implor- 
ing pardon for her son, lay dying in a dose dark room, with 
no child to dasp her hand, and no pure air from heaven to 
fEKQ her brow. A stranger dosed the eyes that settled into a 
cold unmeaning glare, and strange ears received the words 
that murmured from the white and half-dosed lips. 

A coarse roimd frock, with a worn cotton neckerchief, and 
other artides of dothing of the commonest description, com- 
pleted the history. A prison, and the sentence — ^banishment 
or the gallows. What would the man have given then, to be 
once again the contented humble drudge of his boyish years ; 
to have restored to life, but for a week, a day, an hour, a 
minute, only for so long a time as would enable him to say 
one word of passionate regret to, and hear one sound of heart- 
fdt forgiveness from, the cold and ghastly form that lay 
rotting in the pauper's grave! The children wild in the 
streets, the mother a destitute widow; both deeply tainted 
with the deep disgrace of the husband and father's name, and 
impelled by sheer necessity, down the predpice that had led 
him to a lingering death, possibly of many years' duration, 
thousands of miles away. We had no due to the end of the 
tale ; but it was easy to guess its termioation. 

We took a step or two further on, and by way of restoring 
the naturally cheerful tone of our thoughts, *began fitting 
visionary feet and legs into a cellar-board full of boots and 
shoes, with a speed and accuraoy that would' have astonished 
the most expert artist in leather, living. There was one pair 
of boots in particular — ^a jolly, good-tempered, hearty-looking, 
pair of tops, that excited our warmest regard ; and we had 
got a fine, red-faced, jovial fellow of a market-gardener into 
them, before we had made their acquaintance half a minute. 
They were just the very thing for him. There were hLs huge 
&t legs bulging over the tops, and fitting them too tight to 



MEDITATIONS IN MONMOUTH-STBEBT. 7a 

admit of his tucking in the loops lie liad pulled them on by ; 
and his knee-oords with an interval of stocking ; and his blue 
apron tucked up round his waist ; and his red neckerchief and 
blue coat, and a white hat stuck on one side of his head ; and 
there he stood with a broad grin on his great red face, 
whistling awaj, as if any other idea but that of being happy 
and comfortable had never entered his brain. 

This was the very man after our own heart ; we knew all 
about li^Tn ; we had seen him coming up to Covent-garden in 
his green chaise-cart, with the fat tubby little horse, half a 
thousand times ; and even while we cast an affectionate look 
upon his boots, at that instant, the form of a coquettish 
servant-maid suddenly sprung into a pair of Denmark satin 
ahoGB that stood beside them, and we at once recognised the 
veiy girl who accepted his offer of a ride, just on this side the 
Hammersmith suspension-bridge, the very last Tuesday morn- 
ing we rode into town from Richmond. 

A Tory smart female, in a showy bonnet, stepped into a 
pair of gray doth boots, with black Mnge and binding, that 
were studiously pointing out their toes on the other side of 
the top-boots, and seemed very anxious to engage his atten- 
tion, but we didn't observe that our friend the market- 
gardener appeared at all captivated with these blandishments ; 
for beyond giving a knowing wink when they first began, as 
if to imply that he quite imderstood their end and object, he 
took no further notice of them. His indifference, however, 
was amply recompensed by the excessive gallantry of a very 
old gentleman with a silver-headed stick, who tottered into a 
pair of large list shoes, that were standing in one comer of 
the board, and indulged in a variety of gestures expressive of his 
admiration of the lady in the doth boots, to the immeasurable 
amusement of a young fellow we put into a pair of long- 
quartered pumps, who we thought would have split the coat 
that slid down to meet him, with laughing. 

We had been looking on at this little pantomime with greet 
satisfiEUStion for some time, when, to our unspeakable astonish- 
ment, we perceived that the whole of the characters, induding 
a numerous corps de haUet of boots and shoes in the back- 
ground, into which we had been hastily thrusting as many 
feet as we could press into the service, were arranging them- 
selv^ in order for dancing ; and some musio striking up at 
the moment, to it they went without delay. It was perfectly 



74) SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

delightful to witness the agility of the market-gardener. Out 
went the boots, first on one side, then on the other, then 
cutting, then shuffling, then setting to the Denmark satins, 
then adyandiig, then retreating, then going round, and then 
repeating the whole of the evolutions again, without appear- 
• ing to suffer in the least :&om the -violence of the exeroise. 

Nor were the Denmark satins a bit behindhand, for they 

jumped and bounded about, in all directions; and though 

\L \ they were neither so reg^ar, nor so true to the time as the 

X. Ido^ boots, still, as they seemed to do ^'^^firor *^^ heart and 

? to enjoy it more, we candidly confess that we preferred their 

style of fianciTig to the other. But the old gentleman in the 

list shoes was the most amusing object in the whole 'party ; 

for, besides his grotesque attempts to appear youthful, and 

amorous, which were sufficiently entertaining in themselves, 

the young fellow in the pumps managed so artfully that evezy 

time the old gentleman advanced to salute the lady- in the 

doth boots, he trod with his whole weight on the old fellow's 

toes, which made him roar with anguish, and rendered all &e 

others like to die of laughing. 

We were in the fiill enjoyment of these festivities when we 
heard a shrill, and by no means musical voice, exdaim, 
" Hope you 'U know me agin, imperence ! " and on looking 
intently forward to see &t)m whence the sound came, we fbund 
that it proceeded, not from the young lady in the doth boots, 
as we had at first been inclined to suppose, but from a bulky 
lady of elderly appearance who was seated in a chair at the 
head of the cellar-steps, apparently for the purpose of super- 
intending the sale of the artides arranged there. 

A baird oi^an which had been in frJl force dose behind 
us, ceased playing ; the people we had been fitting into the 
shoes and boots took to -fiight at the interruption ; and as we 
were conscious that in the depth of our meditations we might 
have been ruddy staring at the old lady for half an hour 
without knowing it, we took to flight too, and were soon 
immersed in the deepest obscurily of the adjacent " Dials." 



T"^^''"'l 




&rUik£Kon|C 



/ Vv// V . //. ',-///. 



HACENEY-OOACH STANDS. 75 



CHAPTER Vn. 

HAOKNST-OOACH STANDS. 

We maintain that hacknej-coaches, properly so called, 
belong solely to the metropolis. We may be told, that there 
are hsbckney-ooach stands in Edinburgh ; and not to go quite 
80 far for a contradiction to our position, we may be reminded 
that Liverpool, Manchester, " and other large towns '' (as the 
Parliamentary phrase goes), have their hcuikney-coach stands. 
We readily concede to these places, the possession of certain 
vehicles, which may look abnost as dirty, and even go almost 
as slowly, as London hackney-coaches : but that they have the 
slightest claim to compete with the metropolis, either in point 
of stands, drivers, or cattle, we indignantly deny. 

Take a regular, ponderous, rickety, London hackney-coach 
of the old school, and let any man have the boldness to assert, 
if he can, that he ever behdid any object on the hjce of the 
earth which at all resembles it, unless, indeed, it were another 
hackney-coach of the same date. We have recently observed 
on certain stands, and we say it with deep regret, rather 
dapper green chariots, and coaches of polished yellow, with 
four wheels of the same colour as the coach, whereas it is 
perfectly notorious to every one who has studied the subject, 
that every wheel ought to be of a different colour, and a 
different size. These are innovations, and, like other mis- J 
called improvements,rawfal signs of the restlessness of the 
public mind, and the little respect paid to our time-honoured 
institutions. / Why should hackney-coaches be dean ? Our 
ancestors found them diriy, and le^ them so. Why should 
we, with a feverish wish to ''keep moving," desire to roll 
along at the ratcw of six miles an hour, while they were con- 
tent to rumble over the stones at four ? These are solemn 
considerations. Hackney-coaches are part and parcel of the 
law of the land ; they were settled by ^e Legislature ; plated 
and numbered by the wisdom of Parliament. 

Then why have they been swamped by cabs and omnibuses? 
Or why should people be allowed to ride quickly for eightpenoe 
a mile, after Parliament had come to the solemn dedsion that 



76 SEBrCHBS BY BOZ. 

they should pay a shilling a mile for riding slowly? We 
pause for a reply; — and, haying no chance of getting one, 
begin a fresh paragraph. 

Our acquaintance with hackney-coach stands is of long 
standing. We are a walking book of fares, feeling ourselves 
half-bound, as it were, to be always in the right on contested 
points. We know all the regular watermen within three 
miles of Covent-garden by sight, and should be almost 
tempted to believe that all the hackney-coach horses in that 
district knew us by sight too, if one-half of them were not 
bHnd. We take great interest in hackney-coaches, but we 
seldom drive, having a knack of turning ourselves over, when 
we attempt to do so. We are as great friends to horses, 
hackney-coach and otherwise, as the renowned Mr. Martin, of 
Gostermonger notoriety, and yet we never ride. We keep no 
horse, but a clothes-horse; enjoy no saddle so much as a 
saddle of mutton ; and, following our own inclinations, have 
never followed the hounds. Leaving these fleeter means of 
getting over the ground, or of depositing oneself upon it, to 
those wha like them, by hackney-coach stands we take our 
stand. 

There is a hackney-ooach stand under the very window at 
which we are writing ; there is only one coach on it now, but 
it is a fair specimen of the dass of vehicles to which we have 
alluded — a great, lumbering, square concern of a dingy yellow 
colour (like a bilious brunette), with very small glasses, but 
veiy large frames ; the panels are ornamented with a faded 
ooat of arms, in shape something like a dissected bat, the 
azletree is red, and the majority of the wheels are green. 
The box is partially covered by an old great-coat, with a 
multiplicity of capes, and some extraordinary-looking clothes ; 
and the i^sraw, with which the canvas cushion is stuffed is 
sticking up in several places, as if in rivalry of the hay, 
which is peeping through the chinks in the boot. The horses, 
with drooping heads, and each with a mane<and tail as scanty 
and straggling as those of a worn-out rocking-horse, are 
standing patiently on some damp straw, occasionally wincing, 
and rattling the harness ; and, now and then, one of them Hfis 
his mouth to the ear of his companion, as if he were saying, 
in a whisper, that he should like to assassinate the coachman. 
The ooaduuan himself is in the watering-house; and the 
waterman, with his hands forced into his pockets, as far as 



HACKNEY-COACH STANDS. 77 

thej can possibly go, is dancing the '^ double 'shuffle/' in front 
of the pump, to keep his feet warm. 

The servant-girl, mth the pink ribbons, at No. 6, opposite, 
suddenly opens the street door, and four small children forth- 
with rash out, and scream ''Coach!" with aU their might and 
main. The waterman darts from the pump, seizes the horses 
by their respective bridles, and drags them, and the coach too, 
round to the house, shouting all the time for the coachman at 
the very top, or rather very bottom of his voice, for it is a 
deep bass growl. A response is heard from the tap-room ; 
the coachman, in his wooden-soled shoes, makes the street 
echo again as he runs across it ; and then * there is such a 
struggling, and backing, and grating of the kennel, to get 
the coach-door opposite the house-door, that the children ore 
in perfect ecstasies of delight. What a commotion ! The old 
lady, who has been stopping there for the last month, is going 
badk to the country. Out comes box aflxsr box, and one side 
of the vehicle is Med with luggage in no time ; the children 
get into everybody's way, and the youngest, who has upset 
himself in his attempts to carry an umbreUa, is borne off 
wounded and kicking. The youngsters disappear, and a short 
pause ensues, during which the old lady is, no doubt, kissing 
them all round in the back parlour. She appears at last, 
followed by her married daughter, all the children, and both 
the servants, who, with the joint assistance of the coachman 
and waterman, manage to get her ^safely into the coach. A 
dook is handed in, and a little basket, which we could almost 
swear contains a small black bottle, and a paper of sandwiches. 
Up go the steps, bang goes the door, '' Golden-cross, Charing- 
crose, Tom," says the waterman, " Good bye, grandma," cry 
the children, off jingles the coach at the rate of three miles 
an hour, and the mamma and children retire into the house, 
with the exception of one little villain, who runs up the street 
at the top of his speed, pursued by the servant ; not ill pleased 
to have such an opportunity of displaying her attractions. 
She brings him back, and, after casting two or three gracious 
glances across the way, which are either intended for us or 
the potboy (we are not quite certain which) shuts the door, 
and the hackney-coach stand is again at a stand still. 

We have been frequently amused with the intense delight 
with which " a servant of all work," who is sent for a coach, 
deposits herself inside; and the unspeakable gratification 



78 SEBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

whicli boySy who have been despatched on a Bimilar errand, 
appear to derive fix)m mounting the box. But we never 
recollect to have been more amused with a hackney-coach 
party, than one we saw early the other morning in Totten- 
ham-court-road. It was a wedding party, and emerged from 
one of the inferior streets near Fitzroy-square. There were 
the bride, with a thin white dress, and a great red face ; and 
the bridesmaid, a little, dumpy, good-humoured young woman, 
dressed, of course, in the same appropriate costume ; and the 
bridegroom and his chosen friend, in blue coats, yellow waist- 
coats, white trousers, and Berlin gloves to match. They 
stopped at the comer of the street, and called a coach with an 
air of iadescribable dignity. The moment they were in, the 
bridesmaid threw a red shawl, which she had, no doubt, 
brought on purpose, negligently over the number on the door, 
evidently to delude pedestrians into the belief that the 
hackney-coach was a private carriage ; and away they went, 
perfectly satisfied that the imposition was succesi^^, and quite 
unconscious that there was a great staring nimiber stuck up 
b^ind, on a plate as large as a schoolboy's slate. A fihilling 
a mile ! — ^the ride was worth £ve, at least, to them. 

What an interesting book a hackney-coaoh might produce, 
. if it could cany as much in its head as it does in its body ! 
V The autobiography of a broken-down hackney-coach, would 
surely be as amusing as the autobiography of a broken-down 
hackneyed dramatist ; an^ it might tell as much of its travels 
unth the pole, as others have of their expeditions to it. How 
many stories might be related of the different people it had 
conveyed on matters of business or profit — ^pleasure ox: pain ! 
And how many melancholy tales of the same people at 
different periods ! The country-girl — ^the Tahowy, over-dressed 
woman — ^the drunken prostitute! The raw apprentice — ^the 
dissipated spendthrift — ^the thief ! 

Talk of cabs ! Cabs are all very well in cases of expedition, 
when it's a matter of neck or nothing, life or death, your 
temporary home or your long one. But, beside a cab's 
lacldng that gravity of deportment which so peculiarly distin- 
guiahes a hadmey-coach, let it never be forgotten that a cab 
is a thing of yesterday, and that he never was anything better. 

(A hackney-cab has always been a hackney-cab, from his first 
entry into public life ; whereas a hackney-coach is a remnant 
of past gentility, a victim to fashion, a hanger-on of an old 



\ 



DOCTOfiff OOMMOna 



English family, wearing their arms, and/ in days of jor 
escorted by men wearing their liveiy, stripped of his finery, 
and thrown upon the world, like a once-smart footman when 
he is no longer sufficiently juvenile for his office, progressing 
lower and lower in the scale of four-wheeled degradation, untU 
at last it comes to — a stand I 



CHAPTER VIIL 

dootobb' oomuoks. 



Walking without any definite object, through St. Paul's 
Chorchyard, a little while ago, we happened to turn down a 
street entitled '^ Paul's-chain," and keeping straight forward 
for a few hundred yards, found ourself, as a natural conse- 
quence, in Doctors' Commons. Now Doctors' Commons being 
fJEuniliar by name to eyerybody, as the place where they grant 
marriage-licences to loye-sick couples, and diyoroes to imfaith- 
fdl ones ; register the wills of people who have any property 
to leave, and punish hasty gentlemen who call ladies by 
unpleasant names, we no sooner discovered that we we]% 
really within its precincts, then we felt a laudable desire to 
become better acquainted therewith ; and as the first object of 
our curiosity was the Court, whose decrees can even unloose 
the bonds of matrimony, we procured a direction to it ; and 
bent our steps thither without delay. 

Crossing a quiet and shady court-yard, paved with stone, 
and frowned upon \ij old red brick houses, on the doors of 
which were painted the names of sundry learned civilians, we 
paused before a small, green-baized, brass-headed-nailed 
door, which yielding to our gentle push, at once admitted us 
into an old quaint-looking apartment, with sunken windows, 
and black carved wainscotting, at the upper end of which, 
seated on a raised platform, of semicircular shape, were about 
a dozen solemn-looking gentlemen, in crimson gowns and wigs. 

At a more elevated desk in the centre, sat a very fat and 
red-faced gentleman, in tortoise-shell spectacles, whose digni- 
fied appearance announced the judge; and round a long 
green-baized table below, something like a billiard-table 



y 

60 SK-ETCHES BT BOZ. 

without the cushions and pockets, were a number of Tery 
self-important-looking personages, in stiff neckcloths, and 
black gowns with white Air collars, whom we at once set down 
as proctors. At the lower end of the billiard-table was an 
individual in an arm-chair, and a wig, whom we afterwards 
discovered to be the registrar ; and seated behind a litde desk, 
near the door, were a respectable looking man in black, of 
about twenty stone weight or thereabouts, and a fat-faced, 
smirking, civil-looking body, ia a black gown, black kid 
gloves, knee shorts, and siLks, with a shirt-frill in his bosom, 
curls on his head, and a silver staff in his hand, whom we 
had no difficulty in recognising as the officer of the Court. 
The latter, indeed, speedily set our mind at rest upon thAs 
point, for, advancing to our elbow, and opening a conversation 
forthwith, he had communicated to us, in less than five 
minutes, that he was the apparitor, and the other the court- 
keeper ; that this was the Arches Court, and therefore the 
counsel wore red gowns, and the proctors fur collars,- and 
that when tiie other courts sat there, they didn't wear red 
gowns or-fur collars either ; with many other scraps of intelli- 
gence equally interesting. Besides tiiese two officers, there 
was a little thin old man, with long grizzly hair, crouched in a 
remote comer, whose dufrjr, our communicative friend informed 
&9, was to ring a large hand-beU when the Court opened in 
the morning, and who, for aught his appearance betokened to 
the oontraiy, might have been similarly employed for the last 
two centuries at least. 

The red-£EU3ed gentleman in the tortoise-shell spectacles had 
got all the talk to himself just then, and very well he was 
doing it, too, only he spoke very fast, but that was habit ; and 
rather thick, but that was good living. So we had plenty of 
time to look about us. There was one individual who amused 
^ us mightily. This was one of the bewigged gentlemen in the 
red robes, who was straddling before the fire in the centre of 
the Court, in the attitude of the brazen Colossus, to the com- 
plete exclusion of every body else. He had gathered up his 
robe behind, in much the same manner as a slovenly woman 
would her petticoats on a very dirty day, in order that he 
might feel the full warmth of the fire. His wig was put on 
all awry, with the tail straggling about his neck, his scanty 
gray trousers and short black gaiters, made in the worst 
possible style, imparted an additional inelegant appearance 



DOCTOEff COMMONS , Bi 

to bis imoontih person ; and his limp, badly starcbed sbirt- 
coHar almost obscured bis eyes. We shall never be able to 
claim any credit as a physiognomist again, for, after a careful 
scrutiny of .this gentleman's ooimtenance, we had come to the 
conclusion that it bespoke nothing but conceit and silliness, 
when our friend with the silver staff whispered in our ear that 
he was no other than a doctor of civil law, and heaven knows 
what besides. So of course we were mistaken, and he must 
be a very talented man. He conceals it so well though — 
perhaps with the merciful view of not astonishing ordinary 
people too much — ^that you would suppose him to be one of 
the stupidest dogs alive. 

The gentleman in the spectacles having concluded his judg- 
ment, and a few minutes having been allowed to elapse, to 
afford time for the buzz in the Court to subside, the registrar 
called on the next cause, which was '' the office of the Judge 
pionioted "by Bumple against Sludberry." A general move- 
ment was visible in the Court, at this announcement, aind the 
obliging fanctionary with silver staff whispered us that ** there 
would be some fan now, for this was a brawling case." 

We were not rendered much the wiser by this piece of 
information, till we found by the opening speech of the 
counsel for the promoter, that, under a half-obsolete statute of 
one of the Edwards, the court was empowered to visit with 
the penalty of excommunication, any person who should be 
proved guilty of the crime of " brawlig," or " smiting," in 
any church, or vestry adjoining thereto ; and it appeared, by 
some eight-and-twenty affidavits, which were duly referred to, 
that on a certain night, at a certain vestry-meeting, in a 
certain parish particularly set forth, Thomas Sludberry, the 
party appeared against in that suit, had made use of, and 
appHed to Michael Bimiple, the promoter, the words " You be 
blowed ; " and that, on the said Michael Bumple and others 
remonstrating with the said Thomas Sludberry on the 
impropriety of his conduct, the said Thomas Sludberry 
repeated the aforesaid expression, '' You be blo^^ ; " and 
furthermore desired and requested to know, wheiher the 
said Michael Bumple ''wanted anything for himself; " adding, 
''that if the said Michael Bumple did want anything for 
himself, he, the said Thomas Sludberry, was the man to give 
it him ; " and at t]^e same time making use of other heinous 
and sinfbl expressions, all of which, Bumple submitted, cam<» 



82 8KBTCHBS BY BOZ. 

• 

mthin the intent and meaning of the Act ; and therefore he, 
for the soul's health and chastening of Sludberxy, prayed for 
sentence of excommunication against him accordingly. 

Upon these facts a long argument was entered into, on 
both sides, to the great edification of a number of persons 
interested in the parochial squabbles, who crowded the court ; 
and when some very long and grave speeches had been made 
^0 and eon, the red-faced gentleman in the tortoiseshell 
spectacles took a review of the case, which occupied half an 
hour more, and then pronounced upon Sludberry the awfiil 
sentence of excommunication for a fortnight, and payment of 
the costs of the suit. Upon this, Sludbeny, who was a little, 
red-faced, sly-looking, ginger-beer seUer, addressed the court, 
and said, if they 'd be good enough to take off the costs, and 
excommunicate him for the term of his natural life instead, it 
would be much more convenient to him, for he never went to 
church at all. To this appeal the gentleman in the spectades 
made no other reply than a look of virtuous indignation ; and 
Sludberry and his Mends retired. As the man with the 
silver staff informed us that the court was on the point of 
rising, we retired too— pondering, as we walked away, upon 
/the beautiful spirit of these ancient ecclesiastical laws, the 
kind and neighbourly feelings they are calculated to awaken, 
and the strong attachment to religious institutions which they 
cannot fail to engender. 

We were so lost in these meditations, that we had turned 
into the street, and run up against a door-post, before we 
recollected where we were wall^ig. On looking upwards to 
see what house we had stumbled upon, the words '' Preroga- 
tive-Office," written in large characters, met our eye; and as 
we were in a sight-seeing humour and the place was a public 
one, we walked in. 

The room into which we walked, was a long, busy-looking 
place, partitioned off, on either side, into a variety of little 
boxes, in which a few clerks were engaged in copying or 
examining deeds. Down the centre of tiie room were several 
desks nearly breast high, at each of which, three or four 
people were standing, poring over large volumes. As we 
knew that they were searching for. wills, they attracted our 
attention at once. 

It was curious to contrast the lazy indifference of the 
attorneys' clerks who were making a search for some legal 



BOOTOBSP COMMONS. 8S 

purpose, witli the air of earnestness and interest which distin- 
guished the strangers to the place, who were looking up the 
will of some deceased relative ; the former pausing every now 
and then with an impatient yawn, or raising their heads to look 
at the people who passed up and down the room ; the latter 
stooping over the book, and running down column after 
column of names in the deepest abstraction. 

There was one little dirty-faced man in a blue apron, who 
after a whole morning's search, extending some fifty years back, 
had just found the will to which he wished to refer, which one 
of the officials was reading to him in a low hurried voice firom 
a thick veUum book with large clasps. It was perfectly 
evident that the more the derk read, the less the man with the 
blue apron understood about the matter. When the volume 
was first brought down, he took off his hat, smoothed down 
his hair, smiled with great self-satisfaction, and looked up in 
the reader's fiEtce with the air of a man who had made up his 
mind to recollect every word he heard. The first two or three 
lines were intelligible enough; but then the technicalities 
began, and the little man began to look rather dubious. 
Then came a whole string of complicated trusts, and he was 
regularly at sea. As the reader proceeded, it was quite apparent 
that it was a hopeless case, and the little man, with his mouth 
open and his eyes fixed upon his face, looked on with an ex- 
pression of bewilderment and perplexity irresistibly ludicrous. 

A little further on, a hard-featured old man with a deeply 
wrinkled fisice, was intently perusing a lengthy will with the 
aid of a pair of horn spectacles : occasionally pausing firom 
his task, and slily noting down some brief memorandum of 
the bequests contained in it. Every wrinkle about his tooth- 
less mouth, and sharp keen eyes, told of avarice and cunning. 
His clothes were nearly threadbare, but it was easy to see 
that he wore them from choice and not from necessity ; all his 
looks and gestures down to the very small pinches of snuff 
which he every now and then took firom a little tin canister, 
told of wealth, and penury, and avarice. 

As he leisurely closed the register, put up his spectacles, and 
folded his scraps of paper in a large leathern pocket-book, 
we thought what a nice hard bargain he was driving with 
some poverty-stricken legatee, who, tired of waiting year sftet 
year, until some life-interest should fall in, was selling his 
chaiice, just as it began to grow most valuable, for a twelfth 



84 fiEETCHES B7 BOZ. 

part of its worth. It was a good Bpeculation — a vety safe 
one. The old'maa stowed his pocket-book carefully in the 
breast of his great-coat, and hobbled away with a leer of 
triumph. That will had made him ten years younger at the 
lowest computation. 

Having commenced our observations, we should certainly 
have extended them to another dozen of people at least, had 
not a sudden shutting up and putting away of the worm-eaten 
old books, warned us that the time for closing the office had 
arrived ; and thus deprived us of a pleasure, and spared our 
readers an iofliction. 

We naturally feU into a train of reflection as we walked 
homewards, upon the curious old records of likings and 
difllikings ; of jealousies and revenges; of afEection defying 
the power of death, and hatred pursued beyond the grave, 
whi(JL these depositaries contain; silent but striking tokens, 
some of them, of exceUenoe of hearty and nobleness of soul ; 
melancholy examples, others, of the worst passions of human 
nature. How many men as they lay speechless and helpless 
on the bed of death, would have given worlds but for the 
strength and power to blot out the silent evidence of animosity 
and bitterness, which now stands. registeired against them in 
Doctors' Commons ! 



CHAPTER IX. 

LOKDOK REOBKATIOirS. 



The wish of persons in the humbler classes of life to ape 
the manners and customs of those whom fortune has placed 
above them, is often the subject of remark, and not unfre- 
quently of complaint. The inclination' may, and no doubt 
does, exist to a great extent, among the small gentilify — ^the 
would-be aristocrats— of the middle classes. Tradesmen and 
clerks, with fashionable novel-reading fmiilies, and circulating- 
Hbrary-subscribing daughters, get up small assemblies in 
humble imitation of Almack's, and promenade the dingy 
" large room '' of some second-rate hotel with as much com- 
placency as the enviable few who are privileged to exhibit 







.l/r//,/ ,/ .y^/v //^<^<'^Ay 



LONDON BBCREATIONa 85 

their magnificence in that ezdasiye haunt of fashion and 
foolery. Aspiring young ladies^ who read flaming acoounta 
of some *' fancy Hair in high life/' suddenly grow desperately 
charitable ; visions of admiration and matrimony float before 
their eyes ; some wonderfully meritorious institution, which^ 
by the strangest accident in the world, has never been heard 
of before, is discovered to be in a languishing condition: 
Thomson's great room, or Johnson's nursery-ground is forth 
with eng^ed, and the aforesaid young ladies, from mere 
charity, exhibit themselves for three days, from twelve to four, 
for the small chai^ of one ft>n'ning per head! With the 
exception of these classes of society, however, and a few weak 
and insigniflcant persons, we do not think the attempt at 
imitation to which we have alluded, prevails in any great 
d^;ree. The different character of the recreations of different 
classes, has often afforded us amusement ; and we have chosen 
it for the subject of our present sketch, in the hope that it 
may possess some amusement for our readers. 

If the regular City man, who leaves Lloyd's at Ave o'clock, 
and drives home to Hadmey, Clapton, Stamford-hill, or else- 
where, can be said to have any dsjlj recreation beyond his 
dinner, it is his garden. He never does anything to it with 
his own hands; but he takes great pride in it notwith- 
standing ; and if you are desirous of paying your addresses 
to the youngest daughter, be sure to be in raptures with eveiy 
flower and shrub it contains. If your poverty of expression 
compel you to make any distinction between the two, we 
would certainly recommend your bestowing more admiration 
on his garden than his wine. He always takes a walk rounil 
it, before he starts for town in the morning, and is par- 
ticularly anxious that the flsh-pond should be kept specially 
neat. If you call on him on Sunday in summer-time, about 
an hour before dinner, you will find him sitting in an arm- 
chair, on the lawn behind the house, with a straw hat on, 
reading a Sunday paper. A short distance from him you wiU 
most likely observe a handsome paroquet in a large brass-wire 
cage ; ten to one but the two eldest girls are loitering in one 
of the side walks accompanied by a couple of young gentle- 
man, who axe holding parasols over them — of course only to 
keep the sun off — ^while the younger children, with the imder 
nursery-maid, are strolling listlessly about, in the shade. 
Beyond these oocaaions, his delight in his garden appears to 



86 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

arise more from \ the conscioxisness of possession) tliaii actaal 
enjoyment of it. When he drives you down to dinner on a 
week-day, he is rather fatigued with the occupations of the 
morning, and tolerably cross into the bargain ; but when the 
doth is removed, and he has drank three or four glasses of his 
favourite port, he orders the French windows of his dining- 
room (which of course look into the garden) to be opened, and 
throwing a silk handkerchief over his head, and leaning back 
in his arm-chair, descants at considerable length upon its 
l)eauty, and the cost of maintedning it. This is to impress you 
— ^who are a young Mend of the family — ^with a due sense of 
ihe excellence of the garden, and the wealth of its owner ; 
«nd when he has exhausted the subject, he goes to sleep. 

There is another and a very different dass of men, whose 
recreation is their garden. An individual of this class, 
•resides some short distance from town — say in the Hampstead- 
Toad, or the Kilbum-road, or any other road where the houses 
are small and neat, and have little slips of back garden* He 
.and his wife — ^who is as dean and compact a little body as 
himself — ^have occupied the same house ever since he retired 
from business twenty years ago. They have no fEonily. 
They once had a son, who died at about five years old. The 
child's portrait hangs over the mantelpiece in the best sitting- 
room, and a little cart he used to draw about, is carefully 
preserved as a reHc. 

In fine weather the old gentleman is almost constantly in 
the garden ; and when it is too wet to go into it, he will look 
out of the window at it by the hour together. He has always 
something to do there, and you will see him digging, and 
sweeping, and cutting, and planting, with manifest ddight. 
In spring time, there is no end to tiie sowing of seeds, and 
Btickbg little bits of wood over them, with labels, which look 
like epitaphs to their memory ; and in the evening, when the 
mm has gone down, the perseveranee with which he lugs a 
great watering-pot about is perfectly astonishing. The only 
other recreation he has, is the newspaper, which he peruses 
every day, from beginning to end, generally reading the most 
interesting pieces of intelligence to his wife, during breakfast. 
The old lady is very fond of fiowers, as the hyacinth-glasses 
in the parlour-window, and geranium-pots in the little front 
court, testify. She takes great pride in the garden too : and 
when one of the four fruit-trees produces rather a larger goose- 



LONDON RBCKBATIONS. 87 

berry than usual, it is carefully preserved under a wine-glass 
on the sideboard, for the edification of visitors, who are duly 
informed that Mr. So-and-so planted the tree which produced 
it, with his own hands. On a summer's evening, when the 
large watering-pot has been filled and emptied some fourteen 
times, and the old couple have quite exhausted themselves by 
trotting about, you will see them sitting happily together in 
the Httle summer-house, enjoying the calm and peace of the 
twilight, and watching the shadows as they fall upon the 
garden, and gradually growing thicker and more sombre, 
obscure the tints of their gayest flowers — ^no bad emblem of 
the years that have silently rolled over their heads, deadening 
in their course the brightest hues of early hopes and feelings 
which have long since faded away, lliese are their only 
recreations, and they require no more. They have within 
themselves, the materials of comfort and content; and the 
only anxiefy of each, is to die before the other. 

This is no ideal sketch. There used to be many old people : 
of this description ; their numbers may have diminished, and 
may decrease stiU more. Whether the course female educa- 
tion has taken of late days — ^whether the pursuit of giddy 
fiivolities, and empty notUngs, has tended to unfit women for 
that quiet domestic life, in which they show far more beauti- 
fully than in the most crowded assembly, is a question we 
should feel little gratification in discussing : we hope not. j 

Let us turn now, to another portion of the London popula- 
tion, whose recreations present about as strong a contrast as 
can well be conceived — ^we mean the Sunday pleasurers ; and 
let us beg our readers to imagine themselves stationed by our 
side in some well-known rural *' Tea-gardens." 

The heat is intense this afternoon, and the people, of whom 
there are additional parties arriving every moment, look as 
warm as the tables which have been recently painted, and have 
the appearance of being red-hot. What a dust and noise! Men 
and women — ^boys and girls — sweethearts and married people 
— ^babies in arms, and children in chaises — ^pipes and shrimps 
— cigars and periwinkles — ^tea and tobacco. Gentlemen, in 
alarming waistcoats, and steel watch-guards, promenading 
about, three abreast, with surprising dignity (or as the gentle- 
man in the next box facetioudy observes, *' cutting it uncom- 
mon fieit ! " ) — ^ladies, with great, long, white pocket-handker- 
chiefs like small table-doths, in their hands, chasing one 



88 SOTCHES BT BOZ. 

aaother on the grass in the most playful and interesting 
manner, with the view of attracting the attention of the afore- 
said gentlemen — ^husbands in perspectiye ordering bottles of 
ginger-beer for the objects bf their affections, with a lavish 
disregard of eii^ense; and the said objects^, washing down 
huge quantities of "shrimps" and ^'winklea" with an equal 
disregard of their own bodily health and subsequent comfort 
— ^boys, with great silk hats just balanced on the top of their 
heads, smoking cigars, and trying to look as if they liked 
them — >gentlemen in pink shirts and blue waistcoats, occasion- 
ally upsetting either themsdyes or somebody else, with their 
own canes. 

Some of the finery of these people provokes a smile, but 
they are all dean, and happy, and disposed to be good-natured 
and sodable. Those two motherly-looking women in the 
smart pelisses, who are chatting so confidentially, inserting a 
"ma'am" at every fourth word, scraped an acquaintance 
about a quarter of an hour ago : it originated in admiration 
of the little boy who belongs to one of them — ^that diminutive 
specimen of mortality in the three-cornered pink satin hat 
with black feathers. The two men in the blue coats and drab 
trousers, who are walking up and down, smoking their pipes, 
are their husbands. The party in the opposite box axe a 
pretty fair spedmen of the generality of the visitors. These 
axe the father and mother, and old grandmother; a young 
man and woman, and an individual addressed by tihe eupho- 
nious title of " XJnde Bill," who is evidently the wit of the 
party. They have some half-dozen children with them, but it 
is scarcely necessary to notice the taxst, for that is a matter of 
course here. Every woman in " the gardens," who has beer, 
married for any length of time, must have had twins on two 
or three occasions ; it is imposdble to account for the extent 
of juvenile population in any other way. 

Observe the inexpresdble ddight of the old grandmother, 
at IJnde Bill's splendid joke of " tea for four : bread and 
butter for forty;" and the loud explosion of mirth which 
foUows his wafering a paper " pigtail " on the waiter's ooUar. 
The young man is evidentiy " keeping company " with Undo 
Bill's niece : and XJnde Bill's hints — such as " Don't forget 
me at the dinner, you know," " I shall look out for the cake, 
Safly," " I 'U be god-father to your first— wager it 's a boy," 
and so forth, are equally embarrassing to the young people, 



THE KIYBR. 



and delightfiil to the elder ones. As to the old grandmother, 
she is in perfect ecstasies, and does nothing but laugh herself 
into £ts of coughing, until thej have finished the *' gin-and- 
water warm with/' of which Unde Bill ordered '' glasses 
round" afber tea, "just to keep the night air out, and do it 
up comfortable and riglar arter sitch an as-tonishing hot 
day!" 

'It is getting dark, and the. people begin to move. The 
field leading to town is quite fiill of them ; the little hand- 
chaises are dragged wearily along, the children are tired, and 
amuse themselves and the company generally by crying, or 
resort to the much more pleasant expedient of going to deep 
— the nLothers begin to wish they were at home again — 
sweethearts grow more sentimental than ever, as the time for 
parting arrives — ^the gardens look moumM enough, by the 
light of the two lanterns which hang against the trees for the 
convenience of smokers — and the waiters, who have been 
running about incessantly for the last six hours, think they 
&el a little tired, as they count their glasses and their gains. 



CHAPTER X. 

TBI BIVER* 



" Ate you fond of the water ? " is a question very frequently 
asked, in ^ot summer weather, by amphibious-looking young 
men. "Vory," is the general reply. "An't you?" — 
" Hardly ever off it," is the response, accompanied by sundry 
adjectives, expressive of the speaker's heartfelt admiration of 
that element. Now, with all respect for the opinion of sodeiy 
in general, and cutter dubs in particular, we humbly suggest 
that some of the most pain^ reminiscences in the mind of 
every individual who has occasionally disported himself on the 
Thames, must be connected with his aquatic recreations. 
Who ever heard of a successM water-party ? — or to put the 
question in a still more intelligible form, who ever saw one? 
We have been on water excursions out of number, but we 
solemnly declare that we cannot call to mind one single 
occasion of the kind, whidi was not marked by more miseries 



90 SEETCHBS B7 BOZ. 

than any one would suppose could reasonably be crowded into 
the space of some eight or nine hours. Something has always 
gone wrong. Either the cork of the salad-dressing has come 
out, or the most anxiously expected member of the party has 
not come out, or the most disagreeable man in company would 
come out, or a child or two have fallen into the water, or the 
gentleman who undertook to steer has endangered every 
body's life all the way, or the. gentlemen who volunteered to 
row have been " out of practice," and performed very alarming 
evolutions, putting their oars down into the water and not 
being able to get them up again, or taking terrific pulls 
without putting them in at all ; in either case, pitdiing over 
on the backs of their heads with startling violence, and 
exhibiting the soles of their pumps to the *' sitters " in the 
boat, in a very humiliating manner. 

We grant that the banks of the Thames are very beautiful 
at Richmond and Twickenham, and other distant havens, 
often sought though seldom reached; but from the " Red-us " 
back to BlackMar's-bridge, the scene is wonderfully changed. 
The Penitentiary is a noble building, no doubt, and the 
sportive youths who "go in " at that particular part of the 
river, on a summer's evening, may be aU very well in per- 
spective ; but when you are obliged to keep in shore cokning 
home, and the young ladies will colour up, and look perse- 
veringly the other way, while the married dittoes cough 
slightly, and stare very hard at the water, you feel awkward 
— especially if you happen to have been attempting the most 
distant approach to sentimentality, for an hour or two 
previously. 

Although experience and suffering have produced in our 
minds the result we have just steted, we are by no means 
blind to a proper sense of the fun which a looker-on may 
extract £rom the amateurs of boating. What can be more 
amusing than Searle*s yard on a fine Sunday morning? It 's 
a Richmond tide, and some dozen boats are preparing for the 
reception of the parties who have engaged them. Two or three 
fellows in great rough trousers and Guernsey shirto, are 
getting them ready by easy stages; now coming down the 
yard with a pair of sculls and a cushion — ^then having a chat 
with the "jack," who, like all his tribe, seems to be wholly 
incapable of doing anything but lounging about — ^then going 
back again, and returning with a rudder-line and a stretcher — 



THB BIVBB. 91 

ihen solacing themselves with another chat — and then won- 
deringy with their hands in their capacions pockets, " where 
them gentlemen 's got to as ordered the six." One of these, 
the h^ad man, with the legs of his trousers carefullj tacked up 
at the bottom, to admit the water, we presume — ^for it is an 
element in which he is infinitely more at home than on land 
— ^is quite a character, and shares with the defunct oyster- 
swallower the celebrated name of ** Dando." Watch him, as 
taking a few minutes' respite from his toils, he negligently 
seats himself on the edge of a boat, and fans his broad bushy 
chest with a cap scarcely half so Amy. Look at his magni- 
ficent, though reddish whiskers, and mark the somewhat 
oatiTe humour with which he ^^chafis" the boys and prentices, 
or cunningly gammons the gen'lm'n into the gift of a glass of 
gin, of which we verily believe he swallows in one day as 
much as any six ordinary men, without ever being one atom 
the worse for it. 

But the party arrives, and Dando relieved from his state of 
uncertainty, starts up into activity. They approach in full 
aquatic costume, with round blue jackets, striped shirts, and 
caps of all sizes and patterns, from the velvet skull-cap of 
French manufacture, to the easy head-dress familiar to the 
students of the old spelling-books, as having, on the authority 
of the portrait, formed part of the costume of the Reverend 
Mr. Dilworth. 

This is the most a.mu8ing time to observe a regular Sunday 
water-party. There has evidently been up to this period no 
inconsiderable degree of boasting on everybody's part relative 
to his knowledge of navigation ; the sight of the water rapidly 
cools their courage, and the air of self-denial with which each 
of them insists on somebody else's taking an oar, is perfectly 
delightful. At length, after a great deal of changing and 
fidgeting, consequent upon the Section of a stroke-oar : the 
inability of one gentleman to pull on this side, of another to 
pull on that, and of a third to pull at all, the boat's crew are 
seated. '' Shove her off! " cries the cockswain, who looks as 
easy and comfortable as if he were steering in the Bay of 
Biscay. The order is obeyed ; the boat is inmiediately turned 
completely round, and proceeds towards Westminster-bridge, 
amidst such a splashing and struggling as never was seen 
before, except when the Royal George went down. ''Back 
wa'ater, sir," shouts Dando, ''Back wa'ater, you sir, aft;" 



92 SEETCHBS BT BOZ. 

upon which everybody thinking he must be the individual 
referred to, they all back water, and back comes the boat, 
stem first, to the spot whence it started. " Back water, you 
sir, aft; pull round, you sir, for'ad, can't you?'' shouts 
Dando, in a frenzy of excitement. ** Pull round, Tom, can't 
you?" re-echoes one of the party. ''Tom an't for* ad," 
replies another. " Yes, he is," cries a third; and the unfor- 
tunate young man, at the imminent nsk of breaking a blood- 
vessel, pulls and pulls, until the head of the boat fairly lies in 
the direction of VauzhaU-bridge. " That 's right — ^now puU 
all on you ! " shouts Dando again, adding, in an under tone, 
to somebody by him, " Slowed if hever I see sich a set of 
mufiGs ! " and away jogs the boat in a zigzag direction, every 
one of the six oars dipping into the water at a diJSerent time ; 
and the yard is once more dear, until the arrival of the next 
party. 

A weU-contested rowing-match on the Thames, is a very 
lively and interesting scene. The water is studded with boats 
of aU sorts, kinds, and descriptions ; places in the coal-barges 
at the different wharfs are let to crowds of spectators, beer 
and tobacco flow freely about; men, women, and children 
wait for the start in breathless expectation, cutters of six and 
eight oars glide gently up and down, waiting to accompany 
their proteges during the race; bands of music add to the 
animation, if not to the harmony of the scene, groups of 
watermen are assembled at the different stairs, discussing the 
merits of the respective candidates: and the prize wherry 
which is rowed slowly about by a pair of skulls, is an object 
of general interest. 

Two o'clock strikes, and everybody looks anxiously in the 
direction of the bridge through which the candidates for the 
prize will come — ^half-past two, and the general attention 
which has been preserved so long begins to flag, whoi 
suddenly a gun is heard, and the noise of distant hurra'ing 
along each bank of the river — every head is bent forward — 
the noise draws nearer and nearer — ^the boats which have 
been waitrog at the bridge start briskly up the river, and a 
well-manned gaUey shoots through tlie arch, the sitters 
cheering on the boats behind them, which are not yet visible. 

" Here they are," is the general cry — and through darts 
the flrst boat, the men in her stripped to the skin, and exert- 
ing every muscle to preserve the advantage they have gained 



THE BIVES. 98 

— ^four oilier boats follow close astern; there are not two 
boats* lengtb between them — ^the shouting is tremendous, and 
the interest intense. " Go on, Pink " — " Give it her, Red " — 
" Sulliwin for ever"—" Bravo ! George " — " Now, Tom, now 
— ^now— ^now — ^why don't your partner stretch out ? " — " Two 
pots to a pint on Yellow," &c. &c. Every little public-house 
fires its gun, and hoists its flag ; and the men who win the 
heat, come in, amidst a splashing and shouting, and banging 
and coni^ision, which no one can imagine who has not 
witnessed it, and of which any description would convey a 
very fSednt idea. 

One of the most amusing places we know, is the steam- 
wharf of the London Bridge, or St. Katharine's Dock Com- 
pany, on a l^aturday morning in summer, when the Gravesend 
and Margate steamers are usually crowded to excess ; and as 
we have just taken a glance at the river above bridge, we 
hope our readers will not object to accompany us on board 
a Gravesend packet. 

Coaches are every moment setting down at the entrance to 
the wharl^ and the stare of bewildered astonishment with 
which the " fares " resign themselves and their luggage into 
the hands of the porters, who seize all the packages at once 
as a matter of course, and run away with them, heaven knows 
where, is laughable in the extreme. A Margate boat lies 
alongside the wharf, the Gravesend boat (which starts first) 
lies alongside that again ; and as a temporary commimication 
is formed between the two, by means of a plank and hand- 
rail, the natural confusion of the scene is by no means 
diminished. 

" Gravesend ? " inquires a stout father of a stout family, 
who follow him, under the guidance of their mother, and a 
servant, at the no small risk of two or three of them being 
left behind in the confusion. " Gravesend ? " 

" Pass on, if you please, sir," replies the attendant — " other 
boat, sir." 

Hereupon the stout father, being rather mystifled, and the 
stout mother rather distracted by maternal anxiety, tiie whole 
party deposit themselves in the Margate boat, and after having 
congratulated himself on having secured very comfortable 
seats, the stout father sallies to the chimney to look for his 
^^iggage> which he has a faint recollection of having given 
some man, something, to take somewhere. No luggage, 



H SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

howeyer, bearing the most remote resemblance to hia OTm, 
in shape or form, is to be discovered; on which the stout 
father calls very loudly for an officer, to whom he states the 
case, in the presence of another father of another family — 
a little thin mau — ^who entirely concurs with him {ih.e stout 
father) in tln'nTriTig that it 's high time something was done 
with tiiese steam companies, and that as the CJorporation Bill 
failed to do it, something else must ; for really people's pro- 
perty is not to be sacrificed in this way; and that if the 
luggage isn't restored without delay, he will take care it shall 
. be put in the papers, for the public is not to be the victim of 
these great monopolies. To this, the officer, in his turn, 
replies, that that company, ever since it has been St. Kat'rine's 
Dock Company, has protected life and property ; that if it had 
been the London Bridge Wharf Company, indeed, he shouldn't 
have wondered, seeing that the morality of that Company (they 
being the opposition) can't be answered for, by no one ; but 
as it is, he 's convinced there must be some mistake, and he 
wouldn't mind making a solemn oath afore a magistrate, that 
the gentleman 'U find his luggage afore he gets to Margate. 

Here the stout father, thinking he is making a capital point, 
replies, that as it happens, he is not going to Margate at all, 
and that ''Passenger to Gravesend" was on the luggage, in 
letters of full two inches long ; on which the officer rapidly 
explains the mistake, and the stout mother, and the stout 
children, and the servant, are hurried with all possible de- 
spatch on board the Gravesend boat, which they reach just in 
time to discover that their luggage is there, and that their 
comfortable seats are not. Then the bell, which is the signal 
for the Gravesend boat starting, begins to ring most furiously: 
and people keep time to the bell, by running in and out of our 
boat at a double-quick pace. The bell stops ; the boat starts: 
people who have been taking leave of their friends on board, 
are carried away against their wiU; and people who have 
been taking leave of their friends on shore, find that they 
have peiformed a veiy needless ceremony, in consequence of 
their not being carried away at all. The regular passengers, 
who have season-tickets, go below to breakfast ; people who 
have purchased morning papers, compose themselves to read 
them ; and people who have not been down the river before, 
think that both the shipping and the water look a great deal 
better at a distance. 



THB BiySB» 85 

Wlien we get down about as £ax as BlackwaU, and begin to 
move at a quicker rate, the spirits of the passengers appear 
to rise in proportion. Old women who have brought large 
wicker h^d-baskets with them, set seriously to work at the 
demolition of heavy sandwiches, and pass round a wine-glass^ 
which is frequently replenished from a flat bottle like a 
stomach-warmer, with considerable glee : handing it first to 
the gentleman in the foraging cap, who plays the harp — 
partly as an expression of satisfaction with his previous 
exertions, and partly to induce him to play '' Dumbledumb- 
deaiy," for " Alick " to dance to ; which being done, Aliok, 
who is a damp earthy child in red worsted socks, takes certain 
small jumps upon the deck, to the unspeakable satisfaction of 
his family circle. Girls who have brought the first volume 
of some new novel in their reticule, become extremely plain- 
tive, and expatiate to Mr. Brown, or young Mr. O'Brien, who 
has been looking over them, on the blueness of the sky, and 
brightness of the water ; on which Mr. Brown or Mr. O'Brien, 
as the case may be, remarks in a low voice that he has been 
quite insensible of late to the beauties of nature— that his 
whole thoughts and wishes have centred in one object alone — 
whereupon the young lady looks up, and failing in her attempt 
to appear unconscious, looks down again ; and turns over the 
next leaf with great difficulty, in order to afford opportunity 
for a lengthened pressure of iiie hand. 

Telescopes, sandwiches, and glasses of brandy-and-water 
cold without, begin to be in great requisition ; and bashful 
men who have been looking down the hatchway at the engine, 
find, to their great relief, a subject on which they can converse 
with one another — and a copious one too— Steam. 

'< Wonderful thing steam, sir." "Ah! (a deep-drawn sigh) 
it is indeed, sir." " Great power, sir." " Immense — ^im- 
mense ! " " Great deal done by steam, sir." " Ah ! (another 
sigh at the immensity of the subject, and a knowing shake of 
the head) you may say that, sir." " Still in its infancy, they 
say, sir." Novel remarks of this kind, are generally the 
commencement of % conversation which is prolonged until the 
conclusion of the trip, and, perhaps, lays tiie foundation of a 
speaking acquaintance between half a dozen gentiemen, who, 
having their families at Gravesend, take season-tickets for the 
boat, and dine on board regularly every afternoon. 



06 8EBTCHBS BY BOZ. 



CHAPTER XL 

astlbt's. 

We never see anj veiy large, staxing, black Roman capitals, 
in a book, or shop-window, or placarded on a wall, without 
their immediately recalling to our mind an indistinct and 
oon&sed recollection of the time when we were first initiated 
in the mysteries of the alphabet. We almost fetncy we see 
the pin's point following the letter, to impress its form more 
strongly on our bewildered imagination ; and wince involun- 
tarily, as we remember the hard knuckles with which the 
reverend old lady who instilled into our mind the first 
principles of education for ninepence per week, or ten and six- 
pence per quarter, was wont to poke our juvenile head 
occasionally, by way of adjusting ^e concision of ideas in 
which we were generally involved. The same kind of feeling 
ptirsues us in many other instances, but there is no place 
which recals so strongly our recollections of childhood as 
Astley's. It was not a ''Royal Amphitheatre " in those days, 
nor had Ducrow arisen to shed the light of dassio taste and 
portable gas over the sawdust of the circus ; but the whole 
character of the place was the same, the pieces were the same, 
the clown's jokes were the same, the riding-masters were 
equally grand, the comic performers equally witty, the 
tragedians equally hoarse, and the ** highly-trained chargers " 
equally spirited. Astley's has altered for tiie better — we have 
changed for the worse. Our histrionic taste is gone, and with 
ehame we confess, that we are fax more delighted and amused 
with the audience, than with the pageantiy we once so highly 
appreciated. 

We like to watch a regular Astley's party in the Easter or 
Midsummer holidays — ^pa and ma, and nine or ten children, 
varying from five foot six to two foot eleven : from fourteen 
years of age to four. We had just taken our seat in one of 
the boxes, in the centre of the house, the other night, when 
the next was occupied by just such a party as we should have 
attempted to describe, had we depicted our beau ideal of a 
group of Astley's visitors. 



ASTLEY'S. 97 

First of all, there came three little l^oys and a little girl, 
who in pursuance of pa's directions, issued in a very audible 
voice from the box-door, occupied the front row; then two 
more little girls were ushered in by a young lady, evidently 
the governess. Then came three more little boys, dressed like 
the first, in blue jackets and trousers, with lay-down shirt- 
collars : then a child in a braided frock and high state of 
astonishment, with very large roxmd eyes, open to their utmost 
width, was lifted over the seats — a process which occasioned a 
considerable display of little pink legs — ^then came ma and pa, 
and then the eldest son, a boy of fourteen years old, who was / 
evidently trying to look as if he did not belong to the^ family. ' 

The first five minutes were occupied in taking the shawls off * 
the little girls, and adjusting the bows which ornamented 
their hair ; then it was providentially discovered that one of 
the little boys was seated behind a pillar and could not see, 
80 the governess was stuck behind the pillar, and the boy 
liffced into her place. Then pa drilled the boys, and directed 
the stowing away of their pocket-handkerchiefs; and ma 
having first nodded and winked to the governess to pull the 
girls' frocks a little more off their shoulders, stood up to review 
the little troop — an inspection which appeared to terminate 
much to her own satisfaction, for she looked with a com- 
placent air at pa, who was standing up at the frirther end of 
the seat. Pa returned the glance, and blew his nose very 
emphatically ; and the poor governess peeped out from behind 
the pillar, and timidly tried to catch ma's eye, with a look 
expressive of her high admiration of the whole family. Then 
two of the little boys who had been discussiog the point 
whether Astley's was more than twice as large as Drury-lane, 
agreed to refer it to "George" for his decision; at which 
*' George," who was no other than the young gentleman 
before noticed, waxed indignant, and remonstrated in no very 
gentle terms on the gross impropriety of having his name 
repeated in so loud a voice at a public place, on which all the 
children laughed very heartily, and one of the little boys 
wound up by expressing his opinion, that ** George began to 
think himself quite a man now," whereupon both pa and ma 
laughed too ; and George (who carried a dress cane and was 
cultivating whiskers) muttered that "William always was 
encouraged in his impertinence ; " and assumed a look of pro- 
found contempt, whidi lasted the whole evening. 



98 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

The play began, and the interest of the little hoys knew no 
bounds. Pa was clearly interested too, although he yeiy 
unsuccessfully endeavoured to look as if he wasn't. As for 
ma, she wsus perfectly overcome by the droUeiy of the principal 
comedian, and laughed till every one of the immense bows on 
her ample cap trembled, at which the governess peeped out 
from behind the pillar again, and whenever she could ca^tch 
ma's eye, put her handkerchief to her mouth, and appeared, 
as in duly bound, to be in convulsions of laughter also. Then 
when the man in the splended armour vowed to rescue the 
lady or perish in the attempt, the little boys applauded vehe- 
mently, especially one little fellow who was apparently on a 
visit to the family, anil had been carrying on a child's flirtation, 
the whole evening, with a small coquette of twelve years old, 
who looked like a model of her mamma on a reduced scale ; 
and who in common with the other little girls (who 
generally speaking have even more coquettishness about them 
than much older ones) looked very properly shocked, when the 
knight's squire kissed the princess's confidential chamber- 
maid. 

When the scenes in the drcle commenced, the children were 
more delighted than ever; and the wish to see what was 
going forward, completely conquering pa's dignify, he stood up 
in the box, and applauded as loudly as any of them. Between 
each feat of horsemanship, the governess leant across to ma, 
and retailed the clever remarks of the children on that which 
had preceded : and ma, in the openness of her heart, offered 
the governess an acidulated drop, and the governess, gratified 
to be taken notice of, retired behind her pillar again with a 
brighter countenance: and the whole party seemed quite 
happy, except the exquisite in the back of the box, who, 
being too grand to take any interest in the children, and too 
insignificant to be taken notice of by any body else, occupied 
himself, from time to time, in rubbing the place where the 
whiskers ought to be, and was completely alone in his glory. 

We defy any one who has been to Astley's two or three 
times, and is consequently capable of appreciating the per- 
severance with which precisely the same jokes are repeated 
night after night, and season after season, not to be amused 
with one part of the performances at least — ^we mean the scenes 
in the circle. For ourself, we know that when tlie hoop, 
composed of jets of gas, is let down, the curtain drawn up for 



ASTLET'S. 99 

the convenience of the half-price on their eje.iment icom the 
ring, the orange-peel cleared away, and the sawdust shaken, 
with mathematical precision, into a complete circle, we feel as 
much enlivened as the youngest child present ; and actually 
join in the laugh which foUows the clown's shrill shout of 
** Here we are ! " just for old acquaintance sake. Nor can 
we 'quite divest ourself of our old feeling of reverence for the 
riding-master, who follows the down with a long whip in his 
hand, and bows to the audience with graceful dignity. He is 
none of your second-rate riding-masters in nankeen dressing- 
gowns, with brown frogs, but the regular gentleman-attendant 
on the principal riders, who always wears a military uniform 
with a table-cloth inside the breast of the coat, in which 
costume he forcibly reminds one of a fowl trussed for roasting. 
He is — ^but why should we attempt to describe that of which 
no description can convey an adequate idea? Everybody 
knows the man, and everybody remembers his polished boots, 
his graceM demeanour, stifif, bb some mi^udging persons 
have in their jealousy considered it, and the splendid head of 
black hair, parted Idgh on the forehead, to impart to the 
countenance an appearance of deep thought and poetic melan- 
choly. His soft and pleasing voice, too, is in perfect unison 
with his noble bearing, as he humours the down by indulging 
in a little badinage ; and the striking recollection of his own 
dignity, with which he exclaims, ** Now, sir, if you please, 
inquire for Miss Woolford, sir," can never be forgotten. The 
graceful air, too, with which he introduces Miss Woolford 
into the arena, and after assisting her to the saddle, follows 
her fairy courser round the drde, can never fail to create a 
deep impression in the bosom of eveiy female servant present^ 
When Miss Woolford, and the horse, and the orchestra, all 
stop, together to take breath, he urbandy takes part in some 
such dialogue as the following (commenced by the down) : 
"I say, sir!"— "Wen, sir?" (it's always conducted in the 
politest manner.) — ** Did you ever happen to hear I was in 
the army, sir ? " — " No, sir." — ** Oh, yes, sir — I can go 
through my exercise, sir." — '* Indeed, sir ! " — " Shall I do it 
now, sir?" — " If you please, sir; come, sir — make haste" (a 
cut with the long whip, and " Ha' done now — ^I don't like it," 
from the down). Here the clown throws himself on the 
ground, and goes through a variety of gymnastic convulsions, 
doubling himself up, and untying himself again, and making 

b2 



100 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

himself look Tory like a man in the most hopeless extreme of 
human agony, to the Tociferous delight of the gallery, until 
he is interrupted by a second cut from the long whip, and a 
request to see " what Miss Woolford 's stopping for ? " On 
which, to the inexpressible mirth of the gallery, he exclaims, 
" Now, Miss Woolford, what can I come for to go, for to fetch, 
for to bring, for to carry, for to do, for you, ma'am ? " On 
the lady's announcing with a sweet smile that she wants the 
two flags, they are with sundry grimaces, procured and handed 
up ; the clown facetiously observing after the performance of 
the latter ceremony — " He, he, ho ! I say, sir. Miss Woolford 
knows me ; she smiled at me." Another cut from the whip, 
a burst from the orchestra, a start from the horse, and round 
goes Miss Woolford again on her graceful performance, to the 
delight of every member of the audience, yoimg or old. The 
next pause affords an opportuniiy for similar witticisms, the 
only additional fun being that of the clown making ludicrous 
grimaces at the riding-master every time his back is turned ; 
and finally quitting the circle by jumping over his head, 
having previously directed his attention ano^er way. 

Did any of our readers ever notice the class of people, who 
bang about the stage-doors of our minor theatres in the day- 
time. You will rarely pass one of these entrances without 
seeing a group of three or four men conversing on the pave- 
ment, with an indescribable pubHc-house-parlour swagger, 
and a kind of conscious air, peculiar to people of this 
description. They always seem to think they are exhibiting ; 
"' the lamps are ever before them. That yoimg fellow in the 
faded brown coat, and very frdl light green trousers, pulls 
down the wristbands of his check shirt, as ostentatiously as if 
it were of the finest linen, and cocks the white hat of the 
summer-before-last as knowingly over his right eye, as if it 
were a purchase of yesterday. I^Qok-ftt the dirty white Berlin 
gloves, and the cheap silk-handkerchief stuck in the bosom of 
his threadbare coat. Is it possible to see him for an instant, 
and not come to the conclusion that he is the walking gentle- 
man who wears a blue surtout, dean collar, and white 
trousers, for half an hour, and then shrinks into his worn-out 
scanty clothes: who has to boast night after night of his 
splendid fortune, with the painful consciousnesa. of a pound 
a- week and his bobts to find ; to talk of his father's mansion 
in the country, with a dreary recollection of his own two-pair 



ASTLRra (I'Ol 



back in the New Cut ; and to be envied and flattered as the 
favomed lover of a rich heiress, remembering all the while 
that the ex-dancer at home is in the family way, and out of 
an engagement ? 

Next to him, perhaps, you will see a thin pale man, with a 
very long £eu)e, in a suit of shining black, thoughtfully 
knocking that part of his boot which once had a heel, with 
an ash stick. He is the man who does the heavy business, 
such as prosy fathers, virtuous servants, curates, landlords, 
and so forth. 

By the way, talking of fathers, we should very much like ' 
to see some piece in which sR "Qie dramatis personad were 
orphans. Facers are invariably great nuisances on the stage, 
and always have to give the hero or heroine a long expla- 
nation of what was done before the curtain rose, usually 
commencing with ** It is now nineteen years, my dear child, 
since your blessed mother (here the old villain's voice Mters) 
confided you to my charge. You were then an infemt,'' &c. 
&c. Or else they have to discover, all of a sudden, that 
somebody whom they have been in constant communication 
with, during three long acts, without the slightest suspicion, 
is their own child : in which case they exclaim, '* Ah ! what 
do I see? This bracelet! That smile! These documents! 
Those eyes ! Can I believe my senses ? — It must be ! — ^Yes — 
it is, it is my child ! " — " My father ! " exclaims the child ; 
and they fall into each other's arms, and look over each other's 
shoulders, and the audience give three rounds of applause. 

To return from this digression, we were about to say, that 
these are the sort of people whom you see talking, and 
attitudinising, outside the stage-doors of our minor theatres. 
At Astley's they are always more numerous than at any other 
place. There is generally a groom or two, sitting on the 
^vindow-sill, and two or three dirty shabby-genteel men in 
checked neckerchiefb, and sallow linen, lounging about, and 
carrying, perhaps, under one arm, a pair of stage shoes badly 
wrapped up in a piece of old newspaper. Some years ago we 
used to stand looking, open-mouthed, at these men, with a / 
feeling of mysterious curiosity,^ the very recollection of which^ 
provokes a smile at the moment we are writiiig, We could 
not believe, that the beings of light and elegance, in milk- 
white tunics, salmon-coloured legs, and blue scarfs, who flitted 
on sleek cream-coloured horses before our eyes at night, with 



102 SKBTCHES BT BOZ. 

all the aid of lights, music, and artificial flowers, coold be the 
pale, dissipated-looking creatures we beheld by day. 

We can hardly believe it now. Of the lower class of actors 
we have seen something, and it requires no great exerdae of 
imagination to identify tiie walking graitleman with the 
*' dirty swell/' the comic singer with the public-house chair- 
man, or the leading tragedian with drunkenness and distress ; 
but these other men are mysterious beings, never seen out of 
the ring, never beheld but in the costume of gods and sylphs. 
With the exception of Ducrow, who can scarcely be dasaed 
among them, who ever knew a rider at Astley e, or snw him 
but on horseback ? Can our friend in the militaxy uniform, 
ever appear in threadbare attire, or descend to the compara- 
tively un-wadded costume of evety-day life? Impoaaible! 
We cannot — ^we will not — ^believe it. 



CHAPTER XII. 

GRXEXWIOH FAIB. 



Ip the Parks be " the lungs of London," we wonder what 
Greenwich Fair is — a periodical breaking outj we suppose, a 
sort of spring-rash : a three days' fever, which cools the blood 
for six months afterwards, and at the expiration of which 
London is restored to its old habits of plodding industry, 
as suddenly and completely as if nothing had ever happened 
to disturb them. 

In our earlier days, we were a constant frequenter of 
Greenwich Fair, for years. We have proceeded to, and 
returned from it, in almost every description of vehicle. We 
cannot conscientiously deny the charge of having once made 
the passage in a spring-van, accompanied by thirteen gentle- 
men, fourteen ladies, an unlimited number of children, 
and a barrel of beer ; and we have a vague recollection of 
having in later days, found ourself the eighth outside, on the 
top of a hackney-coach, at something past four o'clock in the 
: morning, with a rather confrised idea of our own name, or 
place of residence. We have grown older since then, and 
quiet, and steady : liking nothing better than to spend our 




^' f /'// /,'// - /// ^ 



GREENWICH PAIR. 108 

Easter, and all our other holidays, in some quiet nook, with 
people of whom we shall never tire ; but we think we stUl 
remember something of Greenwich Fair, and of those who 
resort to it. At all events we will try. 

The road to Greenwich during the whole of Easter Monday, 
is in a state of perpetual bustle and noise. Cabs, hackney- 
coaches, **shay*' carts, coal- waggons, stages, omnibuses, 
-sociables, gigs, donkey-chaises — all crammed with people (for 
the question never is, what the horse can draw, but what the 
vehicle will hold), roll along at their utmost speed ; the dust 
flies in clouds, ginger-beer corks go off in voUeys, the balcony 
of every public-house is crowded with people, smoking and 
drinking, half the private houses are turned into tea-shops, 
fiddles are in great request, every little fruit-shop displays its 
stall of gilt gingerbread and penny toys ; turnpike men are in 
despair ; horses won't go on, and wheels will come off; ladies 
in " carawans " scream with fright at every fresh concussion, 
and their admirers find it necessary to sit remarkably dose to 
them, by way of encouragement; servants of all- work, who 
are not allowed to have followers, and have got a holiday for 
the day, make the most of their time with the faithful admirer 
who waits for a stolen interview at the comer of the street 
every night, when they go to fetch the beer — apprentices 
grow sentimental, and straw-bonnet makers kind. Everybody 
is anxious to get on, and actuated by the common wish to be 
at the fair, or in the park, as soon as possible. 

Pedestrians linger in groups at the roadside, unable to 
resist the allurements of the stout proprietress of the " Jack- 
in-the-box, three shies a penny," or the more splendid offers 
of the man with three thimbles and a pea on a little round 
board, who astonishes the bewildered crowd with some such 
address as, " Here 's the sort o' game to make you laugh 
seven years arter you 're dead, and turn eVry air on your ed 
gray vith delight ! Three thimbles and vun little pea — ^with 
a vun, two, three, and a two, three, vun : catch him who can, 
look on, keep your eyes open, and niver say die ! niver mind 
the change, and the expense : all fair and above board : them 
as don't play can't vin, and luck attend the ryal sportsman ! 
Bet any gen'lm'n any sum of money, from harf-a-crown up to 
a suverin, as he doesn't name the thimble as kivers the pea ! " 
Here some greenhorn whispers his friend that he distinctly 
saw the pea roll under the middle thimble — an impression 



104 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

which is immediately confirmed by a gentleman in top-boota. 
who is standing by^ and who, in a low tone, regrets his own 
inability to bet in consequence of having imfortunately left his 
purse at home, but strongly urges the stranger not to neglect 
such a golden opportunity. The " plant " is suocessM, the 
bet is made, the stranger of course loses ; and the gentleman 
with the thimble consoles him, ajs he pockets the money, with 
an assurance that it 's ''all the fortin of war ! this time I vin, 
next time you vin : niver mind the loss of two bob and a 
bender ! Do it up in a small parcel, and break out in a fresh 
place. Here's the sort o* game," &c. — and the eloquent 
harangue, with such yariations as the speaker's exuberant 
fancy suggests, is again repeated to the gaping crowd, rein- 
forced by the accession of several new comers. 

The chief place of resort in the day-time, after the public- 
houses, is the park, in which the principal amusement is to 
drag young ladies up the steep hill which leads to the obser- 
vatory, and then drag them down again, at the veiy top of 
their speed, greatly to the derangement of their curls and 
bonnet-caps, and much to the edification of lookers-on from 
below. "Kiss in the Ring," and "Threading my Grand- 
mother's Needle," too, are sports which receive their full 
share of patronage. Love-sick swains, imder the influence of 
Igin-and-water, and the tender passion, become violently affec- 
.tionate: and the fair objects of their regard enhance the 
.value of stolen kisses, by a vast deal of struggHng, and hold- 
ing down of heads, and cries of "Oh! Ha' done, then, 
George — Oh, do tickle him for me, Mary — Well, I never ! " 
and similar Lucretian ejaculations. Little old men and 
women, with a small basket under one arm, and a wine-glass, 
without a foot, in the other hand, tender " a drop o' the right 
sort" to the different groups; and young ladies, who are 
persuaded to indulge in a drop of the aforesaid right sort, 
display a pleasing degree of reluctance to taste it, and cough 
afterwards with great propriety. 

The old pensioners, who, for the moderate charge of a 
penny, exhibit the mast-house, the Thames and shipping, the 
place where the men used to hang in chains, and other 
interesting sights, through a telescope, are asked questions 
about objects within the range of the glass, which it would 
puzzle a Solomon to answer ; and requested to find out 
particular houses in particular streets, which it would have 



/ 



GREENWICH FAIR. /t05 

been a taak of some difficulty for Mr. Homer (not the young 
gentleman wlio ate mince -pies with his thumb, but the man 
of Colosseum notoriety) to discover. Here and there, where 
some three or four couple are sitting on the grass together, 
you will see a sun-burnt woman in a red doak ** telling 
fortunes " and prophesying husbands, which it requires no 
extraordinary observation to describe, for the originals are 
before her. Thereupon the lady concerned laughs and blushes, 
and ultimately buries her feice in an imitation cambric hand- 
kerchief, and the gentleman described looks extremely foolish, 
and squeezes her hand, and fees the gipsy liberally ; and the 
gipsy goes away, perfectly satisfied herself, and leaving those 
behind her perfectly satisfied also: and the prophecy, like 
many other prophecies of greater importance, fulfils itself in 
^e. 

JBut it grows dark : the crowd has gradually dispersed, and 
only a few stragglers are left behind. The light in the 
direction of the church shows that the fair is illuminated ; and 
the distant noise proves it to be filling fast. The spot, which 
half an hour ago was ringing with the shouts of boisterous 
mirth, is as calm and quiet as if nothing could ever disturb 
its serenity ; the fine old trees, the majestic building at their 
feet, with the noble river beyond, glistening in the moonlight, 
appear in all their beauty, and under their most favourable 
aspect ; the voices of the boys, singing their evening hymn, 
are borne gently on the air : and the humblest mechanic who 
has been lingering on the grass so pleasant to the feet that 
beat the same dull round ^m week to week in the paved 
streets of London, feels proud to think as he surveys the scene 
before him, that he belongs to the country which has selected 
such a spot as a retreat for its oldest and best defenders in 
the decline of their lives, y 

Five minutes' walking l)rings you to the fair ; a scene cal- 
culated to awaken veiy different feelings. The entrance is 
occupied on either side by the vendors of gingerbread and 
toys : the stalls are gaily lighted up, the most attractive goods 
pro^isely disposed, and unbonneted young ladies, in their zeal 
for the interest of their employers, seize you by the coat, and 
use all the blandishments of ** Do, dear " — ** There 's a love " 
— *' Don't be cross, now," &c., to induce you to purchase half 
a poimd of the real spice nuts, of which the majority of the 
regular fair-goers carry a pound or two as a present supply, 



r. 



106 /' SKBTCHES BY BOZ. 

tied up in a cotton pocket-handkerchief. Occasionally yon 
pass a deal table, on which are exposed pen'orths of pickled 
salmon (fennel included), in little white saucers: oysters, with 
shells as large as cheese-plates, and divers specimens of a 
species of snail (twW», we tiiink they are called), floating in a 
somewhat bilious-looking green liquid. Cigars, too, are in 
great demand ; gentlemen must smoke, of course, and here 
l^ey are, two a penny, in a regxdar authentic dgar-box, with 
a lighted tallow candle in the centre. 

Imagine yourself in an extremely dense crowd, which 
swings you to and fro, and in and out, and every way but 
J the right one ; add to this the screams of women, the shouts of 
boys, the clanging of gongs, the firing of pistols, the ringing 
of bells, the bellowings of speaking-trumpets, the squeaking of 
penny dittos, the noise of a dozen bands, with three drums in 
each, all playing different tunes at the same time, the hallooing 
of showmen, and an occasional roar from the wild-beast 
shows ; and you are in the very centre and heart of the fair. 

This immense booth, with the large stage in front, so 
brightly illuminated with variegated lamps, and pots of 
burning fat, is "Richardson's," where you have a melo- 
drama (with three murders and a ghost), a pantomime, a 
comic song, an overture, and some incidental music, all done 
in five-and-tweniy minutes. 

The company are now promenading outside in all the 
dignity of wigs, spangles, red-ochre, and whitening. See 
with what a ferocious air the gentleman who personates the 
•.Mexican chief, paces up and down, and with whataxu^ej?f 
-calm dignity the principal tragedian gazes on the crowd below, 
iOr converses confidentially with the harlequin! The four 
clowns, who are engaged in a mock broadsword combat, may 
be all very well for the low-minded holiday-makers ; but these 
are the people for the reflective portion of the commimity. 
They look so noble in those Roman dresses, with their yeUow 
legs and arms, long black ciirly heads, bushy eyebrows, and 
scowl expressive of assassination, and vengeance, and every- 
thing else that is grand and solemn. Then, the ladies — ^were 
there ever such innocent and awfiil-looking beings ; as they 
walk up and down the platforms in twos and threes, with their 
arms round each other's waists, or leaning for support on one 
of those majestic men ! Their spangled muslin dresses' and 
blue satin shoes and sandals (a leeile the worse for wear) are 



GREENWICH FAIK. 107 

the admiration of all beholders; and the playful manner in 
which they check the advances of the clown, is perfectly 
enchanting. 

" Just a-going to begin ! Pray come for*erd, come for'erd," 
exclaims the man in the conntryman's dress, for the seventieth 
time : and people force their way up the steps in crowds. The 
band suddenly strikes up, the harlequin and columbine set the 
example, reels are formed in less than no time, the Roman 
heroes place their arms a-kimbo, and dance with considerable 
agility; and the leading tragic actress, and the gentleman 
who enacts the " swell " in the pantomime, foot it to per- 
fection. "All in to begin," shouts the manager, when no 
more people can be induced to "come for'erd," and away 
rush the leading members of the company to do the dreadM 
in the first piece. 

A change of performance takes place every day during the 
fSsdr, but the story of the tragedy is always prettjr much the 
same. There is a rightful heir, who loves a young lady, and 
is beloved by her ; and a wrongful heir, who loves her too, 
and isn't beloved by her ; and the wrongful heir gets hold of 
the rightM heir, and throws him into a dungeon, just to kill 
him off when convenient, for which purpose he hires a couple 
of assassins — a good one and a bad one — ^who, the moment 
chey are left alone, get up a little murder on their own account, 
the good one killing the bad one, and the bad one wounding 
the good one. Then the rightM heir is discovered in prison, 
carefiilly holding a long chain in his hands, and seated de- 
spondingly in a large arm-chair ; and the young lady comes in 
to two bars of soft music, and embraces the rightfiil heir; and 
then the wrongM heir comes in to two bars of quick music 
(technically called "a hurry"), and goes on in the most 
shocking manner, throwing the young lady about, as if she 
was nobody, and calling the rightful heir "Ar-recreant — 
ar- wretch ! " in a veiy loud voice, which answers the double 
purpose of displaying his passion, and preventing the sound 
being deadened by the sawdust. The interest becomes intense; 
the WTongM heir draws his sword, and rushes on the rightM 
heir ; a blue smoke is seen, a gong is heard, and a tall white 
figure (who has been all this time behind the arm-chair, 
covered over with a table-cloth), slowly rises to the tune of 
"Oft in the stilly night." This is no other than the ghost 
of the rightM heir's father, who was killed by the wrongful 



108 SKETCHES 6T BOZ. 

heir's father, at sight of which the wrongful heir becomes 
apoplectic, and is literally struck ''all of a heap," the stage 
not being large enough to admit of his falling down at full 
length. Then the good assassin staggers in, and says he was 
hired in conjunction with the bad assassin, by the wrongfiil 
heir, to kill the rightM heir ; and he 's killed a good many 
people in his time, but he *s very sorry for it, and won't do so 
any more — a promise which he immediately redeems, by 
dying off hand, without any nonsense about it. Then the 
rightful heir throws down his chain ; and then two men, a 
sailor, and a young woman (the tenantry of the rightful heir) 
come in, and the ghost makes dumb motions to them, which 
^6y> ^y supernatural interference, understand — ^for no one 
else can ; and the ghost (who can't do anything without blue 
fire) blesses the rightM heir and the young lady, by half 
suffocating them with smoke : and then a muffin-bell rings, 
and the curtain drops. 

The exhibitions next in populariiy to these itinerant theatres 
are the travelling me^iageries, or, to speak more intelligibly, 
the " Wild-beaat shows," where a military band in beef-eaters' 
costume, with leopard-skin caps, play incessantly ; and where 
large highly coloured representations of tigers tearing men's 
heads open, and a lion being burnt with red-hot irons to 
induce him to drop his victim, are himg up outside, by way 
of attracting visitors. 

The principal officer at these places is generally a very tall» 
hoarse man, in a scarlet coat, with a cane in his hand, with 
which he occasionally raps the pictures we have just noticed, 
by way of illustrating his description — something in this way. 
** Here, here, here ; the lion, the lion (tap), exactly ajs he is 
represented on the canvas outside (three taps) : no waitin^jp, 
remember; no deception. The fe-ro-cious lion (tap, ta])) 
who bit off the gentleman's head last Cambervel vos a twelve- 
month, and has killed on the awerage three keepers a^year 
ever since he arrived at matoority. No extra charge on this 
account recollect ; the price of admission is only sixpence." 
This address never fEiils to produce a consideration sensation, 
and sixpences flow into the treasury with wonderful rapidity. 

The dwarfs are also objects of great curiosity, and as a 
dwarf, a giantess, a living skeleton, a wild Indian, ** a young 
lady of singular beauty, with perfectly white hair and pink 
eyes," and two or throe other natural curiosities, are usually 



GREENWICH FAIR. ( lOd 

exMbited together for the small charge of a penny, they 
attract very numerous audiences. The best thing about a 
dwarf is, ^at he has always a little box, about two feet six 
inches high, into which, by long practice, he can just manage 
to get, by doubling himself up like a boot-jack ; this box is 
painted outside like a six-roomed house, and as the cro^d. 
see him ring a bell, or fire a pistol out of the first-floor 
window, they verily believe that it is his ordinary town resi- 
dence, divided like other mansions into drawing-rooms, dining- 
parlour, and bed-chambers. Shut up in this case, the 
unfortunate little object is brought out to delight the throng 
by holding a facetious dialogue with the proprietor : in the 
course of which, the dwarf (who is always particularly drunk) 
pledges himself to sing a comic song inside, and pays various 
compliments to the ladies, which induce them to *' come 
for'erd" with great alacrity. As a giant is not so easily 
moved, a pair of indescribables of most capacious dimensions, 
and a huge shoe, are usually brought out, into which two or 
three stout men get all at once, to the enthusiastic delight of 
the crowd, who are quite satisfied with the solemn assurance 
that these habiliments form part of the giant's eveiy-day 
costume. 

The grandest and most numerously frequented booth in the 
whole fair, however, is " The Crown and Anchor " — a 
temporary ball-room — we forget how many hundred feet 
long, the price of admission to which is one shilling. Imme- 
diately on your right hand as you enter, after paying your 
money, is a refreshment place, at which cold beef, roast and 
boiled, French rolls, stout, wine, tongue, ham, even fowls, if 
we recollect right, are displayed in tempting array. There is 
a raised orchestra, and the place is boarded all the way down, 
in patches, just wide enough for a countiy-dance. 

There is no master of the ceremonies in this artificial Eden 
— all is primitive, unreserved, and unstudied. The dust is 
blinding, the heat insupportable, the company somewhat 
noisy, and in the highest spirits possible : the ladies, in the 
height of their innocent animation, dancing in the gentlemen's 
hats, and the gentlemen promenading ** the gay and festive 
scene" in the ladies' bonnets, or with the more expensive 
ornaments of false noses, and low-crowned, tinder-box looking 
hats : playing children's drums, and accompanied by ladies 
on the penny trtmipet. 



110 8EBTGHBS BT BOZ. 

The noise of these various instruments, the orchestra, the 
shouting, the *' scratchers " and the dancing, is perfectly be- 
wildering. The dancing itself, begg^ars description — erery 
figure lasts about an hour, and the ladies bounce up and 
down the middle, with a degree of spirit which is quite inde- 
scribable. As to the gentlemen, they stamp their feet against 
the ground, every time "hands four round" begins, go down 
the middle and up again, with cigars in their mouths, and 
silk handkerchief in their hands, and whirl their partners 

i round, nothing loth, scrambling and falling, and embracing, 
and knocking up against the other couples, until they are 
fairly tired out, and can move no longer. The same scene 
is repeated again and again (slightly varied by an occasional 
** row " ) until a late hour at night : and a great many clerks 
and 'prentices find themselves next morning with aching 
heads, empty pockets, damaged hats, and a very imperfeot 
recollection of how it was, they did not get home. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

PRIVATB THEATRES. 



" RiCHABD THE Thibd. — ^Dttke OF Glo'steb, 2Z. ; Eabi. 
OF EiOHKOKD, 12.; Duke of Bucslikghah, 15<. ; Catesby, 
I2s,; Tbessez.!!, 108. 6d,; Lobd SxANLEr, 5f.; Lobd Matob 
OF London, 2«. 64." 

Such are the written placards wafered up in the gentlemen's 
dre8sing*room, or the green-room (where there is any), at a 
private theatre ; and such are the sums extracted ^m the 
shop till, or overcharged in the office expenditure, by the 
i donkeys who are prevailed upon to pay for permission to 
exhibit their lamentable ignorance and boobyism on the stage 
of a private theatre. This they do, in proportion to the 
scope afforded by tiie character for the display of their imbe- 
cility. For instance, the Duke of Glo*ster is well worth two 
pounds, because he haa it all to himself; he must wear a real 
sword, and what is better still, he must draw it, several times 
in the course of the piece. The soliloqxdes alone are well 
worth fifteen shillings; then there is the stabbing King Henry 




^>///r/// y/fr/j/h,) 



^. 



"5 



j 



PmVATB THBATRBS. Ill 

—decidedly cheap at three-and-sixpence, that 's eighteen-aad- 
sixpence; bull3dng the coffin-bearers — say eighteen-pence, 
though it 'b worth much more — that *8 a pound. Then 
the love scene with Lady Ann, and the bustle of the fourth 
act, can't be dear at ten shillings more — that's only one 
pound ten, including the **off with his head!" — which is 
sure to bring down the applause, and it is very easy to do— 
"Qrf with his ed" (very quick and loud; — ^then slow and 
sneeringly) — " So much for Bu-u-u-uckingham ! " Lay the 
emphasis on the " uck ; " get yourself gradually into a comer, 
and work with your right hand, while you 're saying it, as if 
you were feeling your way, and it's sure to do. The tent 
scene is confessedly worth half-arsoyereign, and so you have 
the fight in, gratis, and eyerybody knows what an effect may 
be produced by a good combat. One — ^two— three — ^four — 
over; then, one — two — ^three— four — under; then thrust; 
then dodge and slide about; then fall down on one knee; 
then fight upon it ; and then get up again and stagger. You 
may keep on doing this, as long as it seems to take — say ten 
minutes — and then fall down (backwards, if you can manage 
it without hurting yourself), and die game : nothing like it 
for producing an effect. They always do it at Astle/s and 
Sadler's WeUs, and if they don't know how to do this sort of 
thing, who in the world does ? A smaU child, or a female in 
white, increases the interest of a combat materially — ^indeed, 
we are not aware that a regulax legitimate terrific broad- 
sword combat could be done without ; but it would be rather 
difficult, and somewhat unusual, to introduce this effect in the 
last scene of Bichard the Third, so the only thing to be done, 
is, just to make the best of a bad bargain, and be as long as 
possible fighting it out. 

The principal patrons of private theatres are dirty boys, 
low copying-clerks in attorneys' offices, capacious-headed 
youths from city counting-houses, Jews whose business, as 
lenders of fancy dresses, is a sure passport to the amateur 
stage, shop-boys who now and then mistake t^eir master's 
money for their own ; and a choice misceUany of idle vaga- 
bonda. The proprietor of a private theatre may be an 
ex-soene-painter, a low coffee-house -keeper, a disappointed 
eighth-rate actor, a retired smuggler, or an uncertificated 
bankrupt. The theatre itself may be in Catherine-street, 
Strand, the purlieus of the city, the neighbourhood of Gray's- 



112 SKBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

inn-lane, or the vicinity of Sadler's WeUs; or it may, per- 
haps, form the chief ntdsanoe of some shabby street, on the 
Surrey side of Waterloo bridge. 

The lady performers pay nothing for their characters, and 
it is needless to add, are usually selected from one t^lass of 
society; the audiences are necessarily of much the same 
character aa the performers, who receive, in return for their 
contributions to the management, tickets to the amoimt of the 
money they pay. 

All the minor theatres in London, especially the lowest, 
constitute the centre of a little stage-struck neighbourhood. 
Each of them has an audience exclusively its own ; and at 
any you will see dropping into the pit at half-price, or swag- 
gering into the back of a box, if the price of admission be a 
reduced one, divers boys of from fifteen to twenty-one years of 
age, who throw back t^eir coat and turn up their wristbands, 
after the portraits of Count D'Orsay, hum tunes and whistle 
when the curtain is down, by way of persuading the people 
near them, that they are not at all anxious to have it up 
again, and speak familiarly of the inferior performers as Bill 
Such-a-one, and Ned So-and-so, or tell each other how a new 
piece called The Unknown Bandit of the Invisible Cavern, is in 
rehearsal; how Mister Palmer is to play The Unknown Bandit; 
how Charley Scarton is to take the part of an English sailor, 
and fight a broadsword combat with six unknown bandits at 
one and the same time (one theatrical sailor is always equal 
to half a dozen men at least) ; how Mister Palmer and Charley 
Scarton are to go through a double hornpipe in fetters in the 
second act; how the interior of the invisible cavern is to 
occupy the whole extent of the stage; and other town-sur- 
prising theatrical announcements. These gentlemen are the 
amateurs — the Richards, Shylocks, Beverleys, and OtheUos — ^the 
Young Domtons, Bovers, Captain Abiolutes, and Charles Surfaces 
— of a private theatre. 

See them at the neighbouring public-house or the theatrical 
cofiee-shop ! They are the kings of the place, supposing no 
real performers to be present ; and roll about, hats on one 
side, and arms a-kimbo, as if tihey had actually come into 
possession of eighteen shillings a-week, and a share of a 
ticket night. If one of them does but know an Astley's super- 
numerary he is a happy fellow. The mdngled air of envy and 
admiration with which his companions will regard him, as 



FRRATB THBATBES. 113 

he converses familiarly with some mouldy-looking man in a 
&ncy neckerchief, whose partially corked eyebrows, and half- 
rouged face, testify to the fact of his having just left the stage 
or the circle, sufficiently shows in what high admiration these 
public characters are held. 

With the double view of g^uarding against the disooveiy of 
Mends or employers, and enhancing the interest of an 
assumed character, by attaching a high-sounding name to its 
lepreeentative, these geniuses assume fictitious names, which 
are not the least amusing part of the play-bill of a private 
theatre. Belville, Melville, Treville, Berkeley, Randolph,' 
Byron, St. Clair, and so forth, are among the humblest ; and ' 
the less imposing titles of Jenkins, Walker, Thomson, Barker, 
Solomons, &c., are completely laid aside. There is something 
imposing in this, and it is an excellent apology for shabbiness 
into the bargain. A shrunken, faded coat, a decayed hat, a 
patched and soiled pair of trousers — ^nay even a very dirty 
shirt (and none of these appearances are veiy uncommon 
among the members of the corps dramatique), may be worn for 
the purpose of disguise, and to prevent the remotest chance of 
recognition. Then it prevents any troublesome inquiries or 
explanations about employment and pursuits ; eveiy body is a 
gentleman at large for the occasion, and there are none of 
those unpleasant and unnecessary distinctions to which even 
genius must occasionally succumb elsewhere. As to the ladies 
(God bless them), they are quite above any formal absurdities; 
the mere circumstance of yoxur being behind the scenes is a 
sufficient introduction to their society — ^for of course they know 
that none but strictly respectable persons would be admitted 
into that dose fellowship with them which acting engenders. 
Tl|ey place implicit reliance on the manager, no doubt; and 
as to the manager, he is all affability when he knows you 
well,— or, in other words, when he has pocketed your money 
once, and entertains confident hopes of doing so again. 

A quarter before eight — there will be a full house to-night 
— six parties in the boxes, already ; four little boys and a 
woman in the pit ; and two fiddles and a flute in the orchestra ; 
who have got through five overtures since seven o'clock (the 
hour fixed for the commencement of the performances), and 
have just b^un the sixth. There wiU be plenty of it, though, 
when it does begin, for there is enough in the bill to last six 
hours at least. 



114 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

That gentleman in the white hat and checked shirt, brown 
coat and brass buttons, lounging behind the stage-box on tho 
O. P. side, is Mr. Horatio St. Jidian, alias Jem Larkins. His 
line is genteel comedy — ^his father's, coal and potato. Hn 
does Alfred Highflier in the last piece, and yery well he 'U do 
it — ^at the price. The party of gentlemen in the opposite 
box, to whom he has just nodded, are friends and supporters 
of Mr. Beverley (otherwise Loggins), the Macbeth of the night. 
You observe their attempts to appear easy and gentlemanly, 
each member of the party, with his feet cocked upon the 
cushion in front of the box ! They let them do these things 
here, upon the same humane principle which permits poor 
people's children to knock double knocks at the door of an 
empty house — ^because they cauoi't do it_ any whfflce^ else. The 
two stout men in the centre box, with an opera-glass osten- 
tatiously placed before them, are friends of the proprietor — ► 
opulent country managers, as he confidentially informs every 
individual among the crew behind the curtain — opulent 
country managers looking out for recruits ; a representation 
which Mr. Nathan, the dresser, who is in the manager's 
interest, and has just arrived with the costumes, offers to 
confirm upon oath if required— corroborative evidence, how- 
ever, is quite unnecessary, for the guILs believe it at once. 

The stout Jewess, who has just entered, is the mother of 
the pale bony little girl with the necklace of blue glass beads 
sitting by her ; she is being brought up to '* the profession.*' 
Pantomime is to be her line, and she is coming out to-night» 
in a hornpipe after the tragedy. The short thin man beside 
Mr. St. Julian, whose white face is so deeply seared with the 
small-pox, and whose dirty shirt-front is inlaid with open- 
work, and embossed with coral studs like lady-birds, is the 
low comedian and comic singer of the establishment. The 
remainder of the audience — a tolerably numerous one by this 
time — are a motley group of dupes and blackguards. 

The footlights have just made their appearance : the wicks 
of the six little oil lamps round the only tier of boxes are bein^i^ 
turned up, and the additional light thus afforded serves to show 
the presence of dirt, and absence of paint, which forms a pro- 
minent feature in the audience part of the house. As these 
preparations, however, announce the speedy commencement of 
the play, let us take a peep <' behind,'' previous to the 
ringing-up. 



PKIVATB THEATREa 115 

The little narrow passages beheatk the stage are neither 
eepedaUj dean nor too brilliantly lighted ; and the absence 
of any flooring, together with the damp mildewy smell which 
pervades the place, does not conduce in any great degree to 
their comfortable appearance. Don't fall over this plate- 
basket— it's one of the "properties" — the caldron for the 
witches' cave; and the three uncouth-looking figures, with 
broken clothes-props in their hands, who are drinking gin- 
and-wator out of a pint pot, are the weird sisters. This 
miserable room, lighted by candles in sconces placed at 
lengthened intervals round the wall, is the dressing-room, 
common to the gentlemen performers, and the square hole in 
the ceiling is the trap-door of the stage above. You will 
observe that the oeiUng is ornamented with tl^e beams that 
support the boards, and tastefully himg with cobwebs. 

The characters in the tragedy are all dressed, and their own 
clothes are scattered in hurried confusion over the wooden 
dresser which surrounds the room. That snuff-shop-looking 
figure, in firont of the glass, is Banquo • and the young lady 
with the liberal display of legs, who is kindly painting his 
£Eioe with a hare's foot, is dressed for Fleancs, The large 
woman, who is consulting the stage directions in Cumberland's 
edition of Macbeth^ is the Lady Macbeth of the night ; she is 
alwa3r8 selected to play the part, because she is tall and stout, 
and looks a little, like Mrs. Siddons — at a considerable distance. 
That stupid-looking milksop, with light hair and bow legs — a 
kind of man whom you can warrant town-made — is fresh 
caught ; he plays Malcolm to night, just to accustom himself 
to an audience. He will get on better by degrees ; he will 
play Othello in a month, and in a month more, will very 
probably be apprehended on a charge of embezzlement. The 
black-eyed female with whom he is talking so earnestly, is 
dressed for the " gentlewoman." It is Jier first appearance, 
too — in that character. The boy of fourteen, who is having 
his eyebrows smeared with soap and whitening, is Duncan, 
King of Scotland; and the two dirty men widi the corked 
pcountenances, ia very old green tunics, and dirty drab boots, 
are the " army." 

" Look sharp below there, gents," exclaims the dresser, a 
red-headed and red-whiskered Jew, calling through the trap, 
" they 're a-going fo ring up. The flute says he 'U be blowed 
if he plays any more, and they 're getting precious noisy in 

i2 



116 SEBTCHES BT BOZ. 

front." A general rush iznitLediately takes place to the half- 
dozen little steep -steps leading to the stage, and the hetero- 
geneous group are soon assembled at Ihe side soeneQ, in 
breathless anxiety and motley confusion. 

"Now," cries the manager, consulting • the written list 
which hangs behind the first P. S. wing, "Scene 1, open 
country — clamps- down — ^thunder and lightning — all ready. 
White ? " [This is addressed to one of the army,] " All 
ready." — " Very well. Scene 2, front chamber. Is the front 
chamber down ?"—" Yes."— " Very weU."—" Jones ".[to 
the other army who is up in the flies]. " Hallo ! " — ;' Wind 
• up the open country when we ring up."-—" I *11 take- care." — 
" Scene 3, back perspective with- practical bridge. Bridge 
ready. White ? Got the tressels there ? "— " All right." 

" Very weU. Clear the stage," cries the manager, haatily 
packing every member of the company into the litde space 
there is between the wings and the wall, and one wing and 
another. "Places, places. Now then. Witches — Duncan — 
Malcolm — ^bleeding ofl&cer — ^where 's the bleeding ofl&cer ? " — 
" Here ! " replies the officer, who has been rose-proking for 
the character. "Get ready, then; now, White, ring the 
second music-bell." The. actors who are to be discovered, are 
hastily arranged, and the actors who are not to be discovered 
place themselves, in their anxiety to peep at the house, just 
where the whole audience can see them. The bell rings, ^d 
the orchestra, in acknowledgment of the call; play three 
distinct chords. The bell rings — ^the tragedy (!) c^ens — and 
our description closes. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



VAUXHALIrOARDENS BT DAT. 



Theue was a time when if a man ventured to wonder how 
Vauxhall-gardens would look by day, he waa hailed with a 
shout of derision at the absurdity of the idea. Vauxhall by 
daylight ! A porter-pot without porter, the House of Commons 
without the Speaker, a gas-lamp without the gas — ^pooh, 
nonsense, the thing was not to be thought of. It was 




:',///. y^v/>. /. 



yAUX^ALL•QA2DEK8 BT DAT. 117 

nimoiiredy too, in those times, that Vauzhall-gaidens by day, 
were the scene of secret and hidden experiments ; that there, 
carvers were exerdsed in the mystic art of cutting a moderate- 
sized ham into slices thin enough to pave the whole of the 
grounds ; that beneath the shade of the tall trees, studious 
men were constantly engaged in chemical experiments, with 
the view of discoyering how much water a bowl of negus 
could possibly bear ; and that in some retired nooks, appro- 
priated to the study of ornithology, other sage and learned 
men were, by a process known only to themselves, incessantly 
employed in reducing fowls to a mere combination of skin 
and bone. 

Vague rumours of this kind, together with many others of 
a similar nature, cast over Vauxhall-gardens an air of deep 
mystery ; and as there is a great deal in the mysterious, there 
is no doubt that to a good many people, at all events, the 
pleasure they afforded was not a little enhanced by this very 
circumstance. 

Of this class of people we confess to having made one. We 
loved to wander among these illuminated groves, thinking of 
the patient and laborious researches which had been carried 
on there during the day, and witnessing their results in the 
suppers which were served up beneath the light of lamps and 
to ihe sound of music, at night. The temples and saloons 
and cosmoramas and fountains glittered and sparkled before 
our eyes; the beauty of the lady singers and the elegant 
deportment of the gentlemen, captivated our hearts; a few 
hundred thousand of additional lamps dazzled our senses ; a 
Dowl or two of reeking punch bewildered our brains ; and we 
were happy. 

In an evil hour, the proprietors of Vauxhall-gardens took 
to opening them by day. We regretted this, as rudely and 
harshly disturbing that veil of mystery which had hung about 
the property for many years, and which none but the noonday 
sun, and l^e late Mr. Simpson, had ever penetrated. We^ 
shrunk from going ; at this moment we scajx^ely know why. . 
Perhaps a morbid consciousness of approaching disappoint- 
ment — perhaps a fatal presentiment — ^perhaps the weather; 
whatever it was, we did not go until the second or third 
announcement of a race between two balloons tempted us, 
and we went. 

We paid our shilling at the gate, and then we saw for the 



118 SKBTCHES BY BOZ. 

fii'st time, that the entrance, if there had ever been any magic 
abput it at all, was now decidedly disenchanted, being, in faELct, 
nothing more nor less than a combination of very roughly- 
painted boards and sawdust. We glanced at the orchestra 
and supper-room as we hurried past — ^we just recognised 
them, and that was all. We bent our steps to the firework- 
ground ; there, at least, we should not be disappointed. We 
reached it, and stood rooted to the spot with mortification and 
astonishment. That the Moorish tower — ^that wooden shed 
with a door in the centre, and daubs of crimson and yellow all 
round, like a gigantic watch-case! That the place where 
night after night we had beheld the undaunted Mr. Blackmore 
make his terrific ascent, surroimded by flames of ^Lre, and 
peals of artillery, and where the white garments of Madame 
Somebody (we forget even her name now), who nobly devoted 
her life to the manufacture of fireworks, had so often been 
seen fluttering in the wind, as she called up a red, blue, or 

party-coloured light to illumine her temple! That the 

but at this moment the beU rung; the people scampered 
away, pell-mell, to the spot jfrom whence the sound proceeded ; 
and we, from the more force of habit, foimd ourself running 
among the first, as if for very life. 

It was for the concert in the orchestra. A small party of 
dismal men in cocked hats were " executing " the overture to 
Tancredi, and a numerous assemblage of ladies and gentlemen, 
with their families, had rushed from their half-emptied stout 
mugs in the supper boxes, and crowded to the spot. Intense 
was the low murmur of admiration when a particularly small 
gentleman, in a dress coat, led on a particularly tall lady in a 
blue sarcenet pelisse and bonnet of the same, ornamented with 
large white feathers, and forthwith commenced a plaintive 
duet. 

We knew the small gentleman well ; we had seen a litho- 
graphed semblance of him, on many a piece of music, with 
his mouth wide open as if in the act of singing ; a wine- 
glass in his hand ; and a table witb two decanters and four 
pine-apples on it in the background. The tall lady, too, we 
had gazed on, lost in raptures of admiration, many and many 
a time — how different people do look by daylight, and without 
punch, to be sure ! It was a beautiftd duet : first the small 
gentleman asked a question, and then the tall lady answered 
it ; then the small gentleman and the tall lady sang together 



VAUXHALL-GARDBNS BY DAY. 119 

most melodiously ; tlien the small gentleman went through, a 
little piece of vehemence by himself, and got very tenor 
indeed, in the excitement of his feelings, to which the tall 
lady responded in a similar manner ; then the small gentleman 
had a shake or two, after which the tall lady had the same, 
and then they both merged imperceptibly into the original 
air : and the band wound themselves up to a pitch of ftiry, 
and the small gentleman handed the tall lady out, and the 
applause was rapturous. 

The comic singer, however, was the especial favourite ; we 
really thought that a gentleman, with his dinner in a pocket- 
handkerchief, who stood near us, would have fainted with 
excess of joy. A marvellously facetious gentleman that comic 
singer is ; his distinguishing characteristics are, a wig 
approaching to the flaxen, and an aged countenance, and he 
bears the name of one of the English counties, if we recollect 
right. He sang a very good song about the seven ages, the 
fiiit half-hour of which afforded the assembly the purest 
deHght; of the rest we can make no report, as we did not 
stay to hear any more. 

We walked about, and met with a disappointment at every 
turn; our favourite views were more patches of paint; the 
fountain that had sparkled so showily by lamp-light, presented 
very much the appearance of a water-pipe that had burst ; all 
the ornaments were dingy, and all the walks gloomy. There 
was a spectral attempt at rope-dancing in the little open 
theatre. The sun shone upon the spangled dresses of the 
performers, and their evolutions were about as inspiriting and 
appropriate as a country-dance in a family-vault. So we 
retraced our steps to the firework-ground, and mingled with 
the little crowd of people who were contemplating Mr. Green. 

Some half-dozen men were restraining the impetuosiiy of 
one of the balloons, which was completely filled, and had the 
car already attached ; and as rumours had gone abroad that a 
Lord was ''going up," the crowd were more than usually 
fmxious and talkative. There was one little man in faded 
black, with a dirty face and a rusty black neckerchief with a 
red border, tied in a narrow wisp round his neck, who entered 
into conversation with every body, and had something to say 
upon every remark that was made within his hearing. He 
was standing with his arms folded, staring up at the balloon, 
and every now and then vented his feelings of reverence for 



120 BKKTCHES BY B02. 

the aeronaut, by saying, as lie looked round to catch some- 
body's eye, '' He 's a rum 'un is Green ; think o' this here 
being upwards of his two hundredth ascent ; ecod the man as 
is ekal to Oreen never had the toothache yet, nor wonH have 
within this hundred year, and that 's all about it. When you 
meets with real talent, and native, too, encourage it, that's 
what I say ; " and when he had delivered himself to this effect, 
he would fold his aims with more determination than ever, 
and stare at the balloon with a sort of admiring defiance of 
any other man alive, beyond himself and Green, that impressed 
the crowd with the opinion that he was an oracle. 

" Ah, you 're very right, sir," said another gentleman, with 
his wife, and children, and mother, and wife's sister, and a 
host of female Mends, in all the gentility of white pocket- 
handkerchiefe, frills, and spencers, ** Mr. Green is a steady 
hand, sir, and there 's no fear about him." 

"Fear!" said the little man: "isn't it a lovely thing to 
see him and his wife a going up in one balloon, and his own 
son and his wife a jostling up against them in another, and all 
of them going twenty or thirty mile in three hours or so, and 
then coming back in pochayses? I don't know where this 
here science is to stop, mind you ; that 's what bothers me." 

Here there was a considerable talking among the females 
in the spencers. 

"What's the ladies a laughing at, sir?" inquired the 
little man, condescendingly. 

" It 's only my sister Mary," said one of the girls, " as says 
she hopes his lordship won't be frightened when he 's in the 
car, and want to come out again." 

" Make yourself easy about that there, my dear," replied 
the little man. " If he was so much as to move a inch 
without leave. Green would jist fetch him a crack over the 
head with the telescope, as would send him into the bottom of 
the basket in no time, and stun him till they come down 
again." 

" Would he, though? " inquired the other man. 

" Yes, would he," replied the little one, " and think nothing 
of it, neither, if he was the king himself. Green's presence 
of mind is wonderftd." 

Just at this moment all eyes were directed to the prepara- 
tions which were being made for starting. The oar was 
attached to the second balloon, the two were brought prett7 



VAUXHALL-GARDBNS BY DAY. 121 

dose together, and a militaiy band commenced playing, with 
a zeal and fervour which would render the most timid man in 
existence but too happy to accept any means of quitting that 
particular spot of earth on which they were stationed. Then 
Mr. Green, sen., and his noble companion entered one car, 
and Mr. Green, jun., and his companion the other ; and then 
the balloons went up, and the aerial travellers stood up, and 
the crowd outside roared with delight, and the two gentlemen 
who had never ascended before, tried to wave their flags, as if 
they were not nervous, but held on very fast all the while ; 
and the balloons were wafted gently away, our little friend 
solemnly protesting, long after they were reduced to mere 
specks in the air, that he could still distinguish the white hat 
of Mr. Green. The gardens disgorged their multitudes, boys 
ran up and down screaming ''bal-loon;" and in all the 
crowded thoroughfares people rushed out of their shops into 
the middle of the road, and having stared up in the air at two 
little black objects till they almost dislocated their necks, 
walked slowly in again, perfectly satisfied. 

The next day there was a grand account of the ascent in 
the morning papers, and the public were informed how it was 
the finest day but four in Mr. Green's remembrance; how 
they retained sight of the earth till they lost it behind the 
clouds; and how the reflection of the balloon on the undu- 
iu'Hng masses of vapour was gorgeously picturesque ; together 
with !v little science about the refraction of the sun's rays, and 
some m^THerious hints respecting atmospheric heat and eddying 
currents of ate. 

There was al^o an interesting account how a man in a boat 
was distinctly heard by Mr. Grreen, jim., to exclaim, "My 
eye ! " which Mr. Green, jun., attributed to his voice rising to 
the balloon, and the sound being thrown back from its surface 
into the car ; and the whole concluded with a slight allusion 
to another ascent next Wednesday, all of which was very 
instructive and veiy amusing, as our readers will see if they 
look to the papers. If we have forgotten to mention the date, 
they have only to wait till next summer, and take the account 
of the first ascent, and it will answer the purpose equally 
welL 



122 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 



CHAPTER XY. 



EABLT COACHES. 



We have often wondered how many months' incessant 
travelling in a post-chaise, it would take to kill a man; and. 
wondering by analogy, we should very much like to know how 
many months of constant travelling in a succession of early 
coaches, an imfortunate mottal could endure. Breaking a 
man alive upon the wheel, would be nothing to breaildng his 
rest, his -peace, his heart — everything but his fSeust — ^upon four; 
and ihe punishment of Ixion (the only practical person, by 
the by, who has discovered the secret of the perpetual motion) 
would sink into Utter insignificance before the one we have 
suggested. If we had been a powerful churchman in those 
good times when blood was shed as &eely as water aQ<f men 
were mowed down like grass, in the sacred cause of religion, 
we would have lain by very quietly till we got hold of some 
especially obstinate miscreant, who positively revised to be 
converted to our faith, and then we would have booked him 
for an inside place in a small coach, which travelled day fltnd 
night: and securing the remainder of the places for stout 
men with a slight tendency to coughing and spitting, we 
would have started him forth on his lajst travels : leccving him 
mercilessly to all the tortures which the waiters, landlordB, 
coachmen, guards, boots, chambermaids, and other familiars 
on his line of road, might think proper to inflict. 

Who has not experienced the miseries inevitably consequent 
upon a summons to undertake a hasty journey ? You receive 
an intimation from your place of business — ^wherever that 
may be, or whatever you may be — ^that it will be necessary to 
leave town without delay. You and your family are forthwith 
thrown into a state of tremendous excitement; an express 
is immediately despatched to the washerwoman's; eveiy 
body is in a bustle; and you, yourself, with a feeling of 
dignity which you cannot altogether conceal, sally forth to 
the booking-office to secure your place. Here a painful 
consciousness of your own imimportance first rushes on your 
mind — ^the people are as cool and collected as if nobody were 




^Y^^^^ 



y',f }/// ///vz/yv^'./ 



V 



EAJLLT CX>A<MBS. 123 

going out of town, or as if a journey of a hundred odd miles 
were a mere nothing. You enter a mouldy-looking room, 
ornamented with large posting-bilk ; the greater part of the 
place enclosed behind a huge lumbering rough counter, and 
fitted up with recesses that look like the dens of the smaller 
animals in a travelling menagerie, without the bars. Some 
half-dozen people are "booking" brown-paper parcels, which 
one of the clerks flings into the aforesaid recesses with an air 
of recklessness which you, remembering the new carpet-bag 
you bought in the morning, feel considerably annoyed at; 
porters looking like so many Atlases, keep rushing in and out, 
with large packages on their shoulders ; aad while you are 
waiting to make the necessary inquiries, you wonder what on 
earth the booking-office clerks can have been before they were 
booking-office clerks ; one of them with his pen behind his 
ear, and his hands behind him, is standing in front of the 
fire, like a full-length portrait of Napoleon; the other with 
his hat half off his head, enters thfe passengers* names in the 
books with a coolness which is inexpressibly provoking ; and 
the villain whistles — actually whistles — while a man asks him 
what the fare is outside — all the way to Holyhead I — ^in frosty 
weather too ? They are clearly an isolated race, evidently 
possessing no sympathies or feelings in common with the rest 
of mankind. Your turn comes at last, and having paid the 
fare, you tremblingly inquire — *' What time will it be neces- 
sary for me to be here in the morning?" — "Six o'clock," 
replies the whistler, carelessly pitching the sovereign you have 
just parted with, into a wooden bowl on the desk. " Hather 
before than arter," adds the man with the semi-roasted unmen- 
tionables, with just as much ease and complacency as if the 
whole world got out of bed at five. You turn into the street, 
ruminating as you bend your steps homewards on the extent 
to which men become hardened in cruelty, by custom. . 

If there be one thing in existence more miserable than 
another, it most unquestionably is the being compelled to rise 
by candle-light. If you ever doubted the fact, you are 
painfrdly convinced of your error, on the morning of your 
departure. You left strict orders, overnight, to be called at 
half-past four, and you have done nothing all night but doze 
for five minutes at a time, and start up suddenly firom a 
terrific dream of a large church-clock with the small hand 
running round, with astonishing rapidity, to every fiigure on 



124 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

£he dial-plate. At last, oompletelj ezhaufited, you faU gradu- 
ally into a refreshing sleep — ^your thoughts grow conAised— * 
the stage-coaches, which have been " going off" before your 
eyes all night, become less and less distinct, until they go off 
altogether; one moment you are driving with all the skiU 
and smartness of an experienced whip — the next you are 
exhibiting, a la Ducrow, on the off leader; anon you are 
closely muffled up, inside, and have just recognised in the 
person of the guard an old schoolfellow, whose funeral, even 
in your dream, you remember to have attended eighteen years 
ago. At last you fall into a state of complete oblivion, from 
which you are aroused, as if into a new state of existence, by 
a singular illusion. You are apprenticed to a trunk-maker ; 
how, or why, or when, or wherefore, you don't take the 
^ trouble to inquire ; but there you are, pasting the lining in 
the lid of a portmanteau. Confound i^t other apprentice in 
the back shop, how he is hammering ! — ^rap, rap, rap — ^what 
an industrious fellow he must be! you have heard him at 
work for half an hour past, and he has been hammering 
incessantly the whole time. Eap, rap, rap, again — ^he's 
talking now — ^what 's that he said ? Five o'clock ! You make 
a violent exertion, and start up in bed. The vision is at once 
dispelled ; the trunk-maker's shop is your own bed-room, and 
the other apprentice your shivering servant, who has been 
vainly endeavouring to wake you for the last quarter of an 
hour, at the imminent risk of breaking either his own 
knuckles or the panels of the door. 

You proceed to dress yourself, with all possible despatch. 
The flaring flat candle with the long snuff, gives light enough 
to show that the things you want, are not where they ought 
to be, and you undergo a trifling delay in consequence of 
having carefully packed up one of your boots in your over 
anxiety of the preceding night. You soon complete your 
toilet, however, for you are not particular on such an occasion, 
and you shaved yesterday evening ; so, mounting your Peters- 
ham great-coat, and green travellLig-shawl, and grasping your 
carpet-bag in your right hand, you walk lightly down stairs, 
lest you should awaken any of the family, and after pausing 
in the common sitting-room for one moment, just to have a 
cup of coffee (the said common sitting-room looking remark- 
ably comfortable, with every thing out of its place, and 
^ewed with the crumbs of last night's supper), you undo the 



SABLT COACHES. 125 

chain and bolts of the street-door, and find yourself fairly in 
the street. 

A thaw, by all that is miserable ! The frost is completely 
broken up. You look down the long perspective of Oxford- 
street, the gas-lights mournfully reflected on the wet pavement, 
and can discern no speck in the road to encourage the belief 
that there is a cab or a coach to be had — ^the very coachmen 
have gone home in despair. The cold sleet is drizzling down 
with that gentle regularity, which betokens a duration of 
four-and-twenty hours at least; the damp hangs upon the 
house-tops, and lamp-posts, and clings to you like an invisible 
cloak. The water is " coming in " in every area, the pipes 
have burst, the water-butts are running over; the kennels 
seem to be doing matches against time, pump-handles descend 
of their own accord, horses in market-carts fall down, and 
there 's no one to help them up again, policemen look as if 
they had been carefully sprinkled with powdered glass ; here 
and there a milk- woman trudges slowly along, with a bit of 
list round each foot to keep her from slipping; boys who 
'Mon't sleep in the house," and are not allowed much sleep 
out of it, can't wake their masters by thundering at the shop- 
door, and cry with the cold — ^the compound of ice, snow, and 
water on the pavement, is a couple of inches thick — nobody 
ventures to walk fast to keep himself warm, and nobody 
could succeed in keeping himself warm if he did. 

It strikes a quarter past five as you trudge down Waterloo- 
place on your way to the Golden-cross, and you discover, for 
the first time, that you were called about an hour too early. 
You have not time to go back ; there is no place open to go 
into, and you have, therefore, no resource but to go forward, 
which you do, feeHng remarkably satisfied with yourself, and 
everything about you. You arrive at the office, and look 
wistfully up the yard for the Birmingham High-flier, which, 
for aught you can see, may have flown away altogether, for 
no preparations appear to be on foot for ike departure of 
any vehicle in the shape of a coach. You wander into the 
booking-office, which with the gas-lights and blazing fire, 
looks quite comfortable by contrast — that is to say, if any 
place can look comfortable at half-past five on a winter's 
morning. There stands the identical book-keeper in the 
same position as if he had not moved since you saw him 
yesterday. As he informs you, that the coach is up the yard. 



126 SKETCHES B7 BOZ. 

and will be brought round in about a quarter of an hour, yon. 
leave your bag, and repair to "The Tap" — ^not with any 
absurd idea of warming yourself, because you feel such a result 
to be utterly hopeless, but for the purpose of procuring some 
hot brandy-and- water, which you do, — ^when the kettle boils ! 
an event which occurs exactly two minutes and a half before 
the time fixed for the starting of the coach. 

The first stroke of six peals from St. Martin's church 
steeple, just as you take the first sip of the boiling liquid. 
You find yourself at the booking-office in two seconds, and 
the tap-waiter finds himself much comforted by your brandy- 
and-water, in about the same period. The coach is out ; the 
horses are in, and the guard and two or three porters are 
stowing the luggage away, and running up the steps of the 
booking-office, and down ike steps of the booking-office, with 
breathless rapidity. The place, which a few minutes ago, was 
so still and quiet, is now all bustle ; the early venders of the 
morning papers have arrived, and you are assailed on all sides 
with shouts of " Times, gen'lm'n, Times/* " Here 's Ckron — 
Ckron — Chron" "Herald, ma'am," "Highly interesting 
murder, gen'lm'n," " Curious case o' breach o' promise, ladies." 
The inside passengers are already in their dens, and the outsides, 
with the exception of yourself, are pacing up and down the 
pavement to keep themselves warm ; they consist of two young 
men with very long hair, to which the sleet has communicated 
the appearance of ciystallised rats' tails ; one thin young woman 
cold and peevish, one old gentleman ditto ditto, and something 
in a cloak and cap, intended to represent a military officer; 
every member of the party with a large stiff shawl over his chin, 
looldng exactly as if he were playing a set of Pan's pipes. 

"Take off tiie cloths, Bob/' says the coachman, who now 
appears for the first time, in a rough blue greatcoat, of which 
the buttons behind are so far apart, that you can't see them 
both at the same time. " Now, gen'lm'n," cries the guard, 
with the way-bill in his hand. " Five minutes behind time 
already ! " Up jump the passengers — the two young men 
smoking like lime-kilns, and the old gentleman grumbling 
audibly. The thin young woman is got upon the roof, by 
dint of a great deal of pulling, and pushing, and helping and 
trouble, and she repays it by expressing her solemn conviction 
that she will never be able to get down again. 

" All right," sings out the guard at last, jiunping up as the 



OMNIBUSSSL 127 

coach starts, and blowing his horn directly afterwards, in 
proof of the soundness of his wind. ** Let 'em go, Harry, 
give 'em their heads," cries the coachman — and off we start 
as briskly as if the morning were *' all right," as well as the 
coach : and looking forward as anxiously to the termination 
of our journey, as we fear our readers will have done, long 
since, to the conclusion of our paper. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

OHNIBUSES. 



It is very generally allowed that public conveyances afford 
an extensive field for amusement and observation. Of all the 
public conveyances that have been constructed since the days 
of the Ark — ^we think that is the earliest on record — to the 
present time, commend us to an oihnibus. A long stage is 
not to be despised, but there you have only six insides, and 
the chances are, that the same people go all the way with 
you — ^there is no change, no variety. Besides, after the first 
twelve hours or so, people get cross and sleepy, and when you 
have seen a man in his nightcap, you lose all respect for him; 
at least, that is the case with us. Then on smooth roads 
people frequently get prosy, and tell long stories, and even 
those who don't talk, may have very unpleasant predilections. 
We once travelled four hundred miles, inside a stage-coach, 
with a stout man, who had a glass of rum-and-water warm, 
handed in at the window at every place where we changed 
horses. This was decidedly impleasant. We have also 
travelled occasionally, with a small boy of a pale aspect, 
with light hair, and no perceptible neck, coming up to 
town from school under the protection of the guard, and 
directed to be left at the Cross Keys tiU called for. This 
is, perhaps, even worse than rum-and-water in a dose 
atmosphere. Then there is the whole train of evils conse- 
quent on a change of the coachman ; and the misery of the 
discovery— which the guard is sure to make the moment you 
b^in to doze — ^that he wants a brown-paper parcel, which he 
distinctly remembers to have deposited under the seat on which 



128 SEETCHBS BT BOZ. 

you are reposing. A great deal of bustle and groping takes 
place, and when you are thoroughly awakened, and seyerely 
cramped, by holding your legs up by an almost supematural 
exertion, while he is looking behind them, it suddenly oocurs 
to him that he put it in the fore-boot. Bang goes the door ; 
the parcel is immediately found ; off starts the coach again ; 
and the guard plays the key-bugle as loud as he can play it, 
as if in mockery of your wretchedness. 

Now, you meet with none of these afflictions in an omnibus ; 
sameness there can never be. The passengers change as often 
in the course of one journey as the fig^ures in a kaleidoscope, 
and though ngt so glittering, are far more amusing. We 
believe there is no instance on record, of a man's having gone 
to sleep in one of these vehicles. As to long stories, would 
any man venture to tell a long story in an omnibus ? and 
even if he did, where would be the harm? nobody could 
possibly hear what he was talking about. Again ; children, 
though occasionally, are not often to be found in an omnibus ; 
and even when they are, if the vehide be Aill, as is generally 
the case, somebody sits upon them, and we are unconscious of 
their presence. Yes, after mature reflection, and considerable 
experience, we are decidedly of opinion, that of all known 
vehicles, from the glass-coach in which we. were taken to be 
christened, to that sombre caravan in which we must one day 
make our last earthly journey, there is nothing like an 
omnibus. 

We will back the machine in which we make our daily 
peregrination frt>m the top of Oxford Street to the city, against 
any ** buss ** on the road, whether it be for the gaudiness of 
its exterior, the perfect simplicity of its interior, or the native 
coolness of its cad. This young gentleman is a singular 
instance of self-devotion ; his somewhat intemperate zeal on 
behalf of his employers, is constantly getting him into trouble, 
and occasionally into the house of correction. He is no 
sooner emancipated, however, than he resumes the duties of 
his profession with unabated ardour. His principal distinc- 
tion is his activity. His great boast is, *' that he can chudc 
an old gen'bn'n into the buss, shut him in, and rattle off, 
afore he knows where it 's a going too ** — a feat which he 
frequently performs, to the infinite amusement of every one 
but the old gentleman concerned, who, somehow or other, 
never can see the joke of the thing. 



OMNIBUSBS. 129 

Wo are not aware that it has ever been precisely ascer- 
tained, how many passengers onr omnibus will contain. The 
impression on the cad's mind, evidently is, that it is amply 
sufficient for the accommodation of any number of persons 
that can be enticed into it. " Any room ? " cries a very hot 
pedestrian. *' Plenty o* room, sir," replies the conductor, 
gradually opening the door, and not disclosing the real state 
of the case until the wretched man is on the steps. " Where ? " 
inquires the entrapped individual, with an attempt to back 
out again. '' Either side, sir/' rejoins the cad, shoving him 
in, and slamming the door. ** All right, BiU." Retreat is 
impossible; the new-comer rolls about, till he falls down 
somewhere, and there he stops. 

As we get into the city a little before ten, four or five of 
our party are regular passengers. We always take them up 
at the same places, and they generally occupy the same seats ; 
they are always dressed in the same manner, and invariably 
discuss the same topics — ^the increasing rapidity of cabs, and 
the disregard of moral obligations evinced by omnibus men. 
There is a little testy old man, with a powdered head, who 
always sits on the right hand side of the door as you enter, with 
his hands folded on the top of his umbrella. He is extremely 
impatient, and sits there for the purpose of keeping a sharp 
eye on the cad, with whom he generally holds a running 
dialogue. He is very officious in helping people in and out, 
and always volunteers to give the cad a poke with his 
umbrella, when any one wants to alight. He usually recom- 
mends ladies to have sixpence ready, to prevent delay ; and if 
anybody puts a window down, that he can reach, he immedi- 
ately puts it up again. 

" Now, what are you stopping for ? " says the little old man 
every morning, the moment there is the slightest indication of 
'' pulling up " at the comer of Regent-street, when some such 
dialogue as the following takes place between him and the cad: 

" What are you stopping for ? " 

Here the cad whistles and affects not to hear the question. 

** I say [a poke]^ what are you stopping for ? " 

" For paBsengcfrs, sir. Ba — ^nk. — ^Ty." 

" I know you 're stopping for passengers ; but you Ve no 
business to do so. Why are you stopping ? " 

" Vy, sir, that 's a difficult question. I think it is because 
we prefer stopping here to going on." 

K 



130 8EBTCHES 6T BOZ. 

''Now mind/' exclaims the little old man, with great 
vehemence, "I'll pull you up to-morrow; I've often 
threatened to do it ; now I will." 

" Thankee, sir," replies the cad, touching his hat with a 
mock expression of gratitude ; — ** worry much obliged to you 
indeed, sir." Here the young men in the omnibus laugh 
very heartily, and the old gentleman gets very red in the fece, 
and seems highly exasperated. ^ 

The stout gentleman, in the white neckdoth, at the other - 
end of the vehicle, looks very prophetic, and says that some- 
thing must shortly be done with these fellows, or there 's no 
saying where all this will end ; and the shabby-genteel man with ' 
the green bag, expresses his entire concurrence in the opinion, 
as he has done regularly every morning for the last six 
months. 

A second omnibus now comes up, and stops immediately 
behind us. AAother old gentleman elevates his cane in the 
air, and runs with all his might towards our omnibus ; we 
watch his progress with g^at interest; the door is opened to 
receive him, he suddenly disappears — ^he has been spirited 
away by the opposition. Hereupon the driver of the opposi- 
tion taunts our people with his having " regularly done 'em 
out of that old swell/' and the voice of the ''old swell " is 
heard, vainly protesting against this unlawful, detention. 
We rattle off, the other omnibus rattles after us^ and every 
time we stop to take up a passenger, they stop to take him 
too; sometimes we get him; sometimes they get him; but 
whoever don't get him, say they ought to' have had him, 
and the cads of the respective vehicles abuse one another 
accordingly. ^ 

As we arrive in the vicinity of Lincoln' s-inn-fields, Bedford- 
row^ and other legal haunts, we drop a great many of our 
original passengers, and take up fresh ones, who meet with a 
r very sulky reception. It is rather remarkable that the people 
already in an onmibus, always look at new-comers, as if they 
entertained some undefined idea that they have no business to 
come in at all. We are quite persuaded the Httle old man 
has some notion of this kind, and that he oohsiders their entry 
as a sort of negative impertinence. 

Conversation is now entirely dropped; each person gases 

vacantly through the window in front of him, and everybody 

. thinks that lus opposite neighbour is staring at him. If one 



-i^yi^ 




vounii^l 



■ ^^r _ /VA// ' v//V^///v / 



THE LAST CAB-DBIVEK. 181 

man gets out at Shoe-lane, and another at the comer of Far- 
ringdon-street, the little old gentleman grumbles, and suggests 
to the latter, that if he had got out at Shoe-lane too, he would 
have saved them the delay of another stoppage ; whereupon 
the young men laugh again, dnd the old gentleman looks very 
solemn, and says nothing more till he gets to the Bank, when 
he trots off as fast as he can, leaving us to do the same, and 
to wish, as we walk away, that we could impart to others any 
portion of the amusement we have gained for ourselves. 



CHAPTER XVn. 



THS LAST CAB-DRIYSEt, AND THB FIRST OMmBUS GAD. 

Of all the cabriolet-drivers whom we ever had the honour 
and gratification of knowing by sight — and our acquaintance 
in this way has been most extensive— there is one who made 
an impression on our mind which can never be effaced, and 
who awakened in our bosom a feeling of admiration and 
respect, which we entertain a fatal presentiment will never be 
called forth again by any human being. He was a man of 
most simple and prepossessing appearance. He was a brown- 
whiskered, white-hatted, no-coated cabman; his nose was 
generally red, and his bright blue eye not unfrequently stood 
out in bold relief against a black border of artificial workman- 
ship ; his boots were of the Wellington form, pulled up to 
meet his corduroy knee-smalls, or at least to approach as near 
them as their dimensions would admit of; and his neck was 
usually garnished with a bright yellow handkerchief. In 
summer he carried in his mouth a flower ; in winter, a straw 
— slight, but to a contemplative mind, certain indications of a 
love of nature, and a taste for botany. 

His cabriolet was gorgeously painted — a bright red ; and 
wherever we went, Ciiy or West End, Paddington or Hol- 
loway. North, East, West, or South, there was the red cab, 
bumping up against the posts at the street comers, and 
turning in and out, among hackney-coaches, and drays, and 
carts, and waggons, and omnibuses, and contriving by some 
strange means or other, to get out of places which no other 

k2 



182 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

vehicle but the red cab could ever by any possibility have 
contrived to get into at all. Our fondness for that red cab was 
unbounded. How we should have liked to see it in the circle 
at Astley*s ! Our life upon it, that it should have performed 
such evolutions as would hav% put the whole company to 
shame — Indian chiefs, knights, Swiss peasants, and all. 

Some people object to the exertion of getting into cabs, and 
others object to the difficulty of getting out of them ; we think 
both these are objections which take their rise in perverse and 
ill-conditioned minds. The getting into a cab is a very pretty 
and graceful process, which, when weU performed, is essentially 
melodramatic. First, there is the expressive pantomime of 
every one of the eighteen cabmen on the stand, the moment 
you raise your eyes from the groimd. Then there is your 
own pantomime in reply — quite a little ballet. Four cabs 
immediately leave the stand, for your especial accommodation ; 
and the evolutions of the animaJs who draw them, are beau- 
tiful in the extreme, as they grate the wheels of the cabs 
against the curb-stones, and sport playfully in the kenneL 
You single out a particular cab, and dart swiftly towards it. 
One bound, and you are on the first step ; turn your body 
lightly round to the right, and you are on the second ; bend 
gracefully beneath the reins, working round to the left at the 
same time, and you are in the cab. There is no difficulty in 
finding a seat : tiie apron knocks you comfortably into it at 
once, and off you go. 

The getting out of a cab, is, perhaps, rather more com- 
plicated in its theory, and a shade more diffifeult in its execution. 
We have studied the subject a great deal, and we think the 
best way is, to throw yourself out, and trust to chance for 
alighting on your feet. K you make the driver alight first, 
and then throw yourself upon him, you will find that he 
breaks your fall materially. In the event of your contem- 
plating an offer of eightpence, on no account make the 
tender, or show the money, until you are safely on the 
pavement. It is very bad policy attempting to save the 
fourpence. You are very much in the power of a cabman, 
and he considers it a kind of fee not to do 3rou any wilful 
damage. Any instruction, however, in the art of getting out 
of a cab, is wholly unnecessary if you are going any distance, 
because the probability is, that you will be shot lightly out 
before you have completed the third mile. 



THB LAST CAB-DRIVER. 133 

We are not aware of aay instance on record in which a 
cab-horse has performed three consecutive miles without going 
down once. What of that ? It is all excitement. And in 
these days of derangement of the nervous system and imiversal 
lassitude, people are content to pay handsomely for excite- 
ment ; where can it be procured at a cheaper rate ? 

But to return to the red cab ; it was omnipresent. You 
had but to walk down Holbom, or Fleet-street, or any of the 
principal thoroughfEires in which there is a great deal of traffic, 
and judge for yourself. You had hardly turned into the 
street, when you saw a trunk or two, lying on the ground : an 
uprooted post, a hat-box, a x>ortmanteau, and a carpet-bag, 
strewed about in a very picturesque manner : a horse in a cab 
standing by, looking about him with great unconcern ; and a 
crowd, shouting and screaming with delight, cooling their 
flushed faces against the glass windows of a chemist's shop. — 
" What 's the matter here, can you tell me ? " — " 0*ny a cab, 
sir," — " Anybody hurt, do you know ? " — " O'ny the fare, sir. 
I see him a tumin' the comer, and I ses to linother gen'lm'n, 
'that's a reg'lar little oss that, and he's a comin' along 
rayther sweet, an't he ? ' — * He just is,' ses the other gen'hn'n, 
ven bump they comes agin the post, and out flies the faie like 
bricks." Need we say it was the red cab ; or that the gentle- 
man with the straw in his mouth, who emerged so coolly 
from the chemist's shop and philosophically climbing into the 
little dickey, started off at fiill gallop, was the red cab's 
licensed driver? 

The ubiquity of this red cab, and the influence it exercised 
over the risible muscles of justice itself, was perfectly astonish- 
ing. You walked into the justice-room of the Mansion-house : 
the whole court resounded with merriment. The Lord Mayor 
threw himself back in his chair, in a state of frantic delight 
at his own joke ; eveiy vein in Mr. Hobler's countenance was 
swollen wiiJi laughter, partly at the Lord Mayor's facetious- 
ness, but more at his own; the constables and police-officers 
were (as in duty bound) in ecstasies at Mr. Hobler and the 
Lord Mayor combined; and the veiy paupers, glancing 
respectfully at the beadle's coimtenance, tried to smile, as even 
he relaxed. A tall, wea^n-faced man, with an impediment 
in his speech, would be endeavouring to state a case of 
imposition against the red cab's driver; and the red cab's 
driver, and the Lord Mayor, and Mr. Hobler, would be having 



184 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

a little fun among themselves, to tlie inordinate deliglit of 
everybody but the complainant. In the end, justice would be 
80 tickled with the red-cab-driver's native humour, that the 
fine would be mitigated, and he would go away full gallop, 
in the red cab, to impose on somebody else without loss of 
time. 

The driver of the red cab, confident in the strength of his 
own moral principles, like many other philosophers, was wont 
to set the feelings and opinions of society at complete defiance. 
Generally speaJdng, perhaps, he would aa soon cany a fare 
safely to his destination, as he would upset him — sooner, 
perhaps, because in that case he not only got the money, but 
had the additional amusement of running a longer heat 
against some smart rival. But society made war upon him in 
the shape of penalties, and he must make war upon society 
in his own way. This was the reasoning of the red-cab- 
driver. So, he bestowed a searching look upon the fare, as 
he put his hand in his waistcoat pocket, when he had gone 
half the mile, to g^t the money ready ; and if he brought forth 
eightpence, out he went. 

The last time we saw our friend was one wet evening in 
Tottenham-court-road, when he was ei^aged in a veiy warm 
and somewhat personal altercation with a loquacious little 
gentleman in a green coat. Poor fellow ! there were great 
excuses to be made for him: he had not received above 
eighteenpence more than his fare, and consequently laboured 
under a great deal of very natural indignation. Tlie dispute 
had attained a pretty considerable height, when at last the 
loquacious little gendeman, making a mental calculation of 
the distance, and finding that he had already paid more than 
he ought, avowed his unalterable determination to " pull up " 
the cabman in the morning. 

" Now, just mark this, young man," said the little gentle^ 
man, " I 'U pull you up to-morrow morning.*' 

" No ! will you though ? " said our friend with a sneer. 

" I will," replied the little gentleman, " mark my words, 
that 's all. If I Hve till to-morrow morning, you shall repent 
this." 

There was a steadiness of purpose, and indignation of 
speech, about the Httle gentleman, as he took an angry piach 
of snufip, after this last declaration, which made a visible 
impression on the mind of the red-cab-driver. He appeared 



THE LAST CAB-DKIVER. 135 

to hesitate for aa instant. It was only for an instant ; his 
resolve was soon taken. 

" You 'U pull me up, wiU you ? " said our fiiend. 

" I willy" rejoined Ihe little gentleman, with even greater 
vehemence than before. 

" Very well," said our friend, tucking up his shirt-sleeves 
very calmly. " There 'U be three veeks for that. Wery good; 
that 'U bring me up to the middle o' next month. Three 
veeks more would carry me on to my birthday, and then I 've 
got ten pound to draw. I may as weU get board, lodgin', 
and washin', till then, out of the county, as pay for it myself; 
consequently here goes ! " 

So, without more ado, the red-cab-driver knocked the little 
gentleman down, and then called the police to take himself 
into custody, with all the civility in the world. 

A story is nothing without the sequel ; and therefore we 
m.ay state, that to our certain knowledge, the board, lodging, 
and washing, were all provided in due course. We happen to 
know the feet, for it came to our knowledge, thus : We went 
over the House of Correction for the county of Middlesex 
shortly after, to witness the operation of the silent system ; 
and looked on all the " wheels " with the greatest anxiety, in 
search of our long-lost Mend. He was nowhere to be seen, 
however, and we began to think that the little gentleman in 
the green coat must have relented, when as we were traversing 
the kitchen-garden, which lies in a sequestered part of the 
prison, we were startled by hearing a voice, which apparently 
proceeded from the wall, pouring forth its soul in Ihe plain- 
tive air of "all round my hat," which was then just beginning 
to form a recognised portion of our national music. 

We started. — " What voice is that ? " said we. 

The Governor shook his head. 

" Sad fellow," he replied, *' very sad. He positively 
refused to work on the wheel ; so, after many trials, I was 
compelled to order him into solitary confinement. He says 
he l^es it very much though, and I am afraid he does, for 
he lies on his back on the floor, and sings comic songs all 
day!" 

Shall we add that our heart had not deceived us ; and that 
the comic singer was no other than our eagerly-sought friend, 
the red-cab-driver ? 

We have never seen him since, but we have strong reason 



186 8KBTCHES BT BOZ. 

to suspect that this noble individual was a distant relative of 
a waterman of our acquaintance, who, on one occasion, when 
we were passing the coach-stand over which he presides, after 
standing very quietly to see a tail man struggle into a cab, 
ran up very briskly when it was all over (as his brethren 
invariably do), and, touching his hat, asked, as a matter of 
course, for ** a copper for the waterman." Now, the fare was 
by no means a handsome man ; and, waxing very indignant 
at the demand, he replied — " Money ! "What for ? Coming 
up and looking at me, I suppose ? " — " Veil, sir," rejoined 
the waterman, with a smile of immoveable complacency^ 
•' That '» worth twopence." 

This identical waterman afterwards attained a very pro- 
minent station in society ; and as we know something of his 
life, and have often thought of telling what we do know, 
perhaps we shall never have a better opportunity than the 
present. 

Mr. William Barker, then, for that was the gentleman's 

name, Mr. William Barker was bom but why need we 

relate where Mr. William Barker was bom, or when ? Why 
scrutinise the entries in parochial ledgers, or seek to penetrate 
the Lucinian mysteries of lying-in hospitals? Mr. William 
Barker was bom, or he had never been. There is a son — 
there was a father. There is an effect — ^there was a cause. 
Surely this is suf&cient information for the most Fatima-like 
curiosity ; and, if it be not, we regret our inabiliiy to supply 
any i^ther evidence on the point. Can there be a more satis- 
factory, or more strictly parliamentary course ? Impossible. 

We at once avow a similar inability to record at what 
precise period, or by what particular process, this gentleman's 
patronymic of William Barker became corrupted into '* Bill 
Boorker." Mr. Barker acquired a high standing, and no 
inconsiderable reputation, among the members of that pro- 
fession to which he more peculiarly devoted his energies ; and 
to them he was generally known, either by the fiemiiliar appel- 
lation of "Bill Boorker," or the flattering designation of 
''Aggerawatin Bill," the latter being a playful and expressive 
sobriquet, illustrative of Mr. Barker's great talent in '* aggera- 
watin " and rendering wild such subjects of her Majesty as 
are conveyed from place to place, through the instrumentality 
of omnibuses. Of the early life of Mr. Barker little is known, 
and even that little is involved in considerable doubt and 



THB FIBST OMNIBUS CAD. 187 

obscurity. A want of application, a restleBsnesa of purpose, 
a thirstjjig after porter, a love of all that is roving and cadger- 
like in nature, shared in common with many other great 
geniuses, appear to have been his leading characteristics. 
The busy hum of a parochial free-school, and the shady 
repose of a county gaol, were alike inefficacious in producing 
the slightest alteration in Mr. Barker's disposition. His 
feverish attachment to change and variety, nothing coidd 
repress ; his native daring no punishment could subdue. 

If Mr. Barker can be fairly said to have had any weakness 
in his earlier years, it was an amiable one— love ; love in its 
most comprehensive form — a love of ladies, liquids, and 
pocket-handkerchie&. It was no seLSjah feeling ; it was not 
confined to his own possessions, which but too many men 
legard with exclusive complacency. No ; it was a nobler 
love— a general principle. It extended itself with equal force 
to the property of other people. 

There is something very affecting in this. It is still more 
ajffecting to know, that such philanthropy is but imperfectly 
rewarded. Bow-street, Newgate, and MiU-bank, are a poor 
return for general benevolence, evincing itself in an irre- 
pressible love for all created objects. Mr. Barker felt it so. 
After a lengthened interview with the highest legal authorities, 
he quitted his ungrateful country, with the consent, and at the 
expense of its Government ; proceeded to a distant shore ; and 
there employed himself, like another Cindnnatus, in decudng 
and cultivating the soil — a peaceM pursuit, in which a term 
of seven years glided almost imperceptibly away. 

Whether, at the expiration of the period we have just 
mentioned, the British Government required Mr. Barker's 
presence here, or did not require his residence abroad, we 
have no distinct means of ascertaining. We should be in- 
clined, however, to favour the latter position, inasmuch as 
we do not find that he was advanced to any other public post 
on his return, than the post at the comer of the Haymarket, 
where he ofiiciated as assistant-waterman to the hackney- 
coach stand. Seated, in this capaciiy, on a couple a£ tubs 
near the curb-stone, with a brass-plate and number suspended 
round hia neck by a massive chain, and his ankles curiously 
enveloped in haybands, he is supposed to have made those 
observations on human nature which exercised so material an 
influence over all his proceedings in later life. 



188 SKETCHBS BT BOZ. 

Mr. Barker had not officiated for many months in this 
capeicity, when the appearance of the first omnibus caused 
the public mind to go in a new direction, and prevented a 
great many hackney-coaches from going in any direction at 
all. The genius of Mr. Barker at once perceived the whole 
extent of ^e injury that would be eventually inflicted on cab 
and coach stands, and, by consequence, on watermen also, by 
the progress of the system of which the first omnibus was a 
part. He saw, too, the necessity of adopting some more 
profitable profession ; and his active mind at once perceived 
how much might be done in the way of enticing the youthAil 
and unwazy, and shoving the old and helpless, into the wrong 
buss, and carrying them off, until, reduced to despair, they 
ransomed themselves by the payment of sixpence a-hecul, or, 
to adopt his own figurative expression in all its native beauty, 
''till they was rig*larly done over, and forked out the stumpy." 

An opportunity for realising his fondest anticipations soon 
presented itself. Rumours were rife on the hackney-coach 
stands, that a buss was building, to run from Lisson-grove to 
the Bank, down Oxford-street and Holbom ; and the rapid 
increase of busses on the Paddington-road, encouraged the 
idea. Mr. Barker secretly and cautiously inquired in the 
proper quarters. The report was correct ; the " Royal 
William" was to make its first journey on the following 
Monday. It was a crack affair altogether. An enterprising 
yoimg cabman, of established reputation as a dashing whip — 
for he had compromised with the parents of three scrunched 
children, and just *' worked out " his fine for knocking down 
an old lady — was the driver; and the spirited proprietor, 
knowing Mr. Barker's qualifications, appointed him to the 
vacant office of cad on the very first application. The buss 
began to run, and Mr. Barker entered into a new suit of 
clothes, and on a new sphere of action. 

To recapitulate all the improvements introduced by this 
extraordinary man, into the omnibus system — gradually, 
indeed, but surely — ^would occupy a far greater space than we 
are enabled to devote to this imperfect memoir. To him is 
imiversally assigned the original suggestion of the practice 
which afterwards became so general — of the driver of a second 
buss keeping constantly behind the first one, and driving the 
pole of his vehicle either into the door of the other, every 
time it was opened, or through the body of any lady or 



THE FIRST OMNIBUS CAD. 139 

gentleman who might make an attempt to get into it ; a 
humorous and pleasant invention, exhibiting all that origin- 
ality of idea and fine bold flow of spirits so conspicuous in 
erery action of this great man. 

Mr. Barker had opponents of course ; what man in public 
life has not? But even his worst enemies cannot deny that he 
has taken more old ladies and gentlemen to Paddington who 
wanted to go to the Bank, and more old ladies and gentlemen 
to the Bank who wanted to go to Paddington, than any six 
men on the road ; and however much malevolent spirits may 
pretend to doubt the accuracy of the statement, they well 
know it to be an established fact, that he has forcibly con- 
veyed a variety of ancient persons of either sex, to both places, 
who had not tiie slightest or most distant intention of going 
any where at alL 

Mr. Barker was the identical cad who nobly distinguished 
himself, some time since, by keeping a tradesman on the step 
— the omnibus going at ftdl speed all the time — till he had 
thrashed him to his entire satisfaction, and Anally throwing 
him away when he had quite done with him. Mr. Barker 
it aught to have been, who honestly indignant at being igno- 
miniously ejected from a house of public entertainment, kicked 
the landlord in the knee, and thereby caused his death. We 
say it ought to have been Mr. Barker, because the action was 
not a common one, and could have emanated from no ordinary 
mind. 

It has now become matter of histoiy ; it is recorded in the 
Newgate Calendar ; and we wish we could attribute this piece 
of daring heroism to Mr. Barker. We regret being compelled 
to state that it was not performed by him. Would, for the 
family credit we could add, that it was achieved by his 
brother ! 

It was in the exercise of the nicer details of his profession, 
that Mr. Barker's knowledge of human nature was beautifully 
displayed. He could tell at a glance where a passenger wanted 
to go to, and would shout the name of the place accordingly, 
witiiout the slightest reference to the real destination of the 
vehicle. He knew exactly the kind of old lady that would be 
too much flurried by the process of pushing in, and pulling 
out of the caravan, to discover where she had been put down, 
until too late; had an intuitive perception of what was passing 
in a passenger's mind, when he inwardly resolved to '* pull 



UO SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

that cad up to-morrow moming ; " and neyer failed to make 
himself agreeable to female servants, whom he would plaoe 
next the door, and talk to all the way. 

Human judgment is never infallible, and it would oocasion* 
ally happen that Mr. Barker experimentalised with the timidity 
or forbearance of the wrong person, in which case a summons 
to a police-office, was, on more than one occasion, followed by 
a committal to prison. It was not in the power of trifles such 
as these, however, to subdue the freedom of his spirit. As 
soon as they passed away, he resumed the duties of his pro- 
fession with unabated ardour. 

We have spoken of Mr. Barker and of the red-cab-driver 
in the past tense. Alas ! Mr. Barker has again become an 
absentee ; and the dass of men to which they both belonged 
are fast disappearing. Improvement has peered beneath the 
aprons of our cabs, and penetrated to the veiy innermost 
recesses of our omnibuses. Dirt and fristian will vanish 
before cleanliness and lively. Slang will be forgotten when 
civility becomes general: and that enlightened, eloquent, 
sage, and profound body, the Magistracy of London, will be 
deprived of half their amusement, and half their occupation. 



CHAPTER XVIIL 

A PARLIAHBKTABT SKETCH. 



We hope our readers will not be alarmed at this rather 
ominous title. We assure them that we are not about to 
become political, neither have we the slightest intention of 
being more prosy than usual — ^if we can help it. ^It has 
occurred to us that a slight sketch of the general aspect of 
''the House," and the crowds that resort to it on the night 
of an important debate, would be productive of some amuse- 
ment ; and as we have made some few calls at the aforesaid 
house in our time — ^have visited it quite often enough for our 
purpose, and a great deal too often for our own personal 
peace and conifort — we have determined to attempt the 
^description. Dismissing from our minds, therefore, all that 
feeling of awe, which vague ideas of breaches of pzivilege. 



A PAELIAIIBNTART SKETCH. 141 

Seqeant-at-Arms, heavy denunciations, and still heavier fees. 
are calculated to awaken, we enter at once into the building, 
and upon our subject. 

Half-pafit four o'clock — ^and at five the mover of the Address 
will be '' on his legs/' as the newspapers announce sometimes 
byway of novelty, as if speakers were occasionally in the 
habit of standing on their heads. The members are pouring 
in, one after the other, in shoals. The few spectators who 
can obtain standing-room in the passages, scrutinise them as 
they pass, with the utmost interest, and the man who can 
identify a member occasionally, becomes a person of great 
importance. Every now and then you hear etumest whispers 
of "That's Sir John Thomson." "Which? him with the 
gilt order round his neck ? " " No, no ; that 's one of the 
messengers — ^that other with the yellow gloves, is Sir John 
Thomson." "Here's Mr. Smith." "Lor!" "Yes, how 
d* ye do, sir ? — (He is our new member) — How do you do, 
sir?" Mr. Smith stops : turns round, with an cdr of enchant- 
ing urbanity (for the rumour of an intended dissolution has 
been very extensively circulated this morning) ; seizes both 
the hands of his gratified constituent, and, after greeting him 
with the most enthusiastic warmth, darts into the lobby with 
an extraordinary display of ardour in the public cause, leaving 
an immense impression in his fSavour on the mind of his 
" fellow-townsman." 

The arrivals increase in number, and the heat and noise 
increase in very unpleasant proportion. The livery servants 
form a complete lane on either side of the passage, and you 
reduce yourself into the smallest possible space to avoid being 
turned out. You see that stout man with the hoarse voice, in 
the blue coat, queer crowned, broad-brimmed hat, white 
corduroy breeches, and great boots, who has been talking 
incessantly for half an hour past, and whose importance has 
occasioned no small quantity of mirth among the strangers. 
That is the great conservator of the peace of Westminster. 
You cannot fail to have remarked the grace with which he 
saluted the noble Lord who passed just now, or the excessive 
dignity of his air, as he expostulates with the crowd. He is 
rather out of temper now, in consequence of the veiy irreverent 
behaviour of those two young fellows behind him, who have 
done nothing but laugh all the time they have been here. 

" WiU they divide to-night, do you ^hinV^ Mr. ?" 



142 8EKTCHBS BT BOZ. 

timidly inquires a little thin man in the crowd, hoping to 
oonciliate the man of office. 

" How can you ask such questions, sir ? " replies the func- 
tionary, in an incredibly loud key, and pettishly grasping the 
thick stick he carries in his right hand. ** Pray do not, sir, 
I beg of you; pray do not, sir." The little man looks 
remarkably out of his element, and the uninitiated part of 
the throng are in positive convulsions of laughter. 

Just at this moment, some unfortunate individual appears, 
with a veiy smirking air, at the bottom of the long passage. 
He has managed to elude the vigilance of the special con- 
stable down stairs, and is evidently congratulating himself on 
having made his way so far. 

'* Go back, sir — ^you must not come here," shouts the hoarse 
one, with tremendous emphasis of voice and gesture, the 
moment the offender catches his eye. 

The stranger pauses. 

"Do you hear, sir — ^will you go back?" continues the 
official dignitary, gently pushing the intruder some half-dozen 
yards. 

"Come, don't push me," replies the stranger, turning 
angrily round. 

" I will, sir." 

" You won't, sir." 

" Go out, sir." 

" Take your hands off me, sir." 

" Go out off the passage, sir." 

" You 're a Jack-in-office, sir." 

" A what ? " ejaculates he of the boots. 

" A Jack-in-office, sir, and a very insolent feUow," reiterates 
the stranger, now completely in a passion. 

" Pray do not force me to put you out, sir," retorts the 
other — "pray do not — ^my instructions are to keep this 
passage dear — ^it *s the Speaker's orders, sir." 

" D — ^n the Speaker, sir ! " shouts the intruder. 

" Here, Wilson ! — €ollins ! " gasps the officer, actually 
paralysed at this insulting expression, which in his mind is all 
but high treason ; " take this man out — ^take him out, I say ! 
How dare you, sir ? " and down goes the unfortunate man 
five stairs at a time, turning round at eveiy stoppage, to come 
back again, and denouncing bitter vengeance against the 
commander-in-chief, and all his supernumeraries. 



A FARLIAMBNTART SKETCH. 143 

" Make way, gentlemen, — ^praj make way for the Members, 
I beg of you ! " shouts the zealous officer, turning back, and 
preceding a whole string of the liberal and independent. 

You see this ferocious-looking gentleman, with a complexion 
almost as sallow as his linen, and whose large black moustache 
would give him the appearance of a figure in a hair-dresser's 
window, if his countenance possessed the thought which is 
communicated to those waxen caricatures of the human face 
divine. He is a militiarofiioer, and the most amusing person 
in the House. Can anything be more exquisitely absurd than 
the burlesque grandeur of his air, as he strides up to the lobby, 
his eyes rolling like those of a Turk's head in a cheap Dutch 
dock ? He never appears without that bundle of dirty papers 
which he carries under his left arm, and which are generally 
supposed to be the miscellaneous estimates for 1804, or some 
equally important documents. He is very punctual in hia 
attendance at the House, and his self-satisfied '' He-ar-He-ar," 
is not unfrequently the signal for a general titter. 

This is the gentleman who once actually sent a messenger 
up to the Strangers' galleiy in the old House of Commons, to 
inquire the name of an individual who was using an eye-glass, 
in order that he might complain to the Speaker that the person 
in question was quizzing him I . On another occasion, he is 
reported to have repaired to Bellamy's kitchen — ^a refreshment 
room, where persons who are not Members are admitted on 
sufferance, as it were — and perceiving two or three gentlemen 
at supper, who he was aware were not Members, and could 
not, in that place, veiy well resentihis behaviour, he indulged 
in the pleasantry of sitting with his booted leg on the table at 
which they were supping ! He is generally harmless, though, 
and always amusing. 

By dint of patience, and some little interest with our friend 
the constable, we have contrived to make our way to the 
Lobby, and you can just manage to catch an occasional 
glimpse of the House, as the door is opened for the admission 
of Members. It is tolerably fiill already, and little groups of 
Members are congregated together here, discussing the inter- 
esting topics of the day. 

" That smart-looking fellow in the black coat with velvet 
facings and cufGs, who wears his D'Orsay hat so rakishly, is 
" Honest Tom," a metropolitan representative ; and the large 
man in the doak with the white lining — not the man by the 



144 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

pillar ; the other with the light hair hanging over his coat 
collar behind, — is his colleague. The quiet gentlemanly- 
looking man in the blue surtout, gray trousers, white necker- 
chief, and gloves, whose dosely-buttoned coat displays his 
manly figure and broad chest to great advantage, is a very 
weU-known character. He has fought a great many battles 
in his time, and conquered like the heroes of old, with no 
other arms than those the gods gave him. The old hard- 
featured man who is standing near him, is really a good 
specimen of a class of men now nearly extinct. He is a county 
Member, and has been from time whereof the memory of man 
is not to the contrary. Look at his loose, wide, brown coat, 
with capacious pockets on each side ; the knee-breeches and 
boots, the immensely long waistcoat, and silver watch-chain 
dangling below it, the wide-brimmed brown hat, and the 
white handkerchief tied in a great bow, with straggling ends 
sticking out beyond his shirt-friU. It is a costume one seldom 
sees nowadays, and when the few who wear it have died off, 
it will be quite extinct. He can teU you long stories of Fox, 
Pitt, Sheridan, and Canning, and how much better the House 
was managed in those times, when they used to get up at 
eight or nine o'clock, except on regular field days, of which 
every body was apprised beforehand. He has a great eon- 
tempt for all young Members of Parliament, and thinks it 
quite impossible that a man can say any thing worth hearing, 
unless he has sat in the House for fiifteen years at least, with- 
out saying anything at all. He is of opinion that '' that 
yoimg Macaulay " was a regular impostor ; he allows, that 
Lord Stanley may do something one of these days, but '' he 's 
too young, sir^— too young." He is an excellent authority on 
points of precedent, and when he grows talkative, after his 
wine, will tell you how Sir Somebody Something, when he 
was whipper-in for the Government, brought four men out of 
their beds to vote in the majority, three of whom died on their 
way home again ; how the House once divided on the ques- 
tion, that fresh candles be now brought in ; how the Speaker 
was once upon a time lefb in the chair by accident, at the con- 
clusion of business, and was obliged to sit in the House by 
himself for three hours, tiU some Member could be knocked 
up and brought back again, to move the adjournment ; and a 
great many other anecdotes of a similar description. 

There he stands, leaning on his stick ; looking at the throng 



A PABLIAUBNTABT SKBTCH. 145 

of Exquisites around him with most profound oontempt ; aad 
eonjurmg up, before his mind's eje, the scenes he beheld in 
the old House in days gone hj, when his own feelings were 
fresher and bright^, and when, as he imagines, wit, talent, 
and patriotism flourished more brightly too. 

You are curious to know who that young man in the rough 
gieat-coat is, who has accosted every Member who has entered 
tiie House siuce we have been standing here. He is not a 
Member ; he is only an " hereditary bondsman,'' or, in other 
words, an Irish correspondent of an Irish newspaper, who has 
just procured Ids forty-second frank from a Member whom he 
never saw in his life before. There he goes again — another ! 
Bless the man, he has his hat and pockets fiill already. 

We will try our fortune at the Strangers' gallery, though 
the nature of the debate encourages very Httle hope of success. 
What on earth ore you about? Holding up your order as if 
it ware a talisman at whose command the wicket would fly 
open ? Nonsense. Just preserve the order for an autograph, 
if it be worth keeping at all, and make your appearance at 
the door with your thumb and forefinger expressively inserted 
in your waistooat-pocket. This tall stout man in black is the 
door-keeper. " Any room ? " — " Not an inch — two or three 
dosen gentlemen waiting down stairs on the chance of some« 
body's going out." Pull out your purse — " Are you guUe 
sure there's no room?" — ''I'U go and look," replies the 
door-keeper, with a wistful glance at your purse, '* but I 'm 
afraid there 's not." He returns, and with real feeling assures 
you that it is morally impossible to get near the gallery. It 
18 of no use waiting. When you are refused admission into 
the Strangers' gallery at the House of Commons, under such 
eizcomstances, you may return home thoroughly satisfied that 
the place must be remarkably frill indeed.* 

Betradng our steps through the long passage, descending 
the stairs, and crossing Palaoe-3rard, we halt at a small tempo- 
rary door-way adjoining the King's entrance to the House of 
Lords. The order of the serjeant-at-arms will admit you into 
the Reporters' gallery, from whence you can obtain a tolerably 
good view of the House. Take care of the stairs, they are 
none of the best ; through this little wicket — ^there. As soon 

* This pApmr wna wriUen before the pnctice of esbibiting Memben of 
Parliament^ Uke oilier cv.novitie^ ibr ibe smsJl cLor^ of LaJf-a-cnnm, was 
aboHahed. 

t 



146 8CBT0HBS BY BOSS. 

aa your eyes become a little nsed ix> the mist of the place, and 
the glare of the chandeliers below you, you will see that some 
imimportaiit personage on the Ministerial side of the House 
(to your right hand) is speakingy amidst a hum of Yoices and 
confusion which would riyal Babel, but for the circumataiioe. 
of its being all in one lang^nage. 

The '' hear, hear/' which occasioned that laugh, pioceedsd 
jQrom our warlike Mend with the moustache ; he is sitting an 
the back seat against the wall, behind the Member who is 
speaking, looking as ferocious and intellectual as usuaL Take 
one look around you, and retire ! The body of the House and 
the side galleries are full of Members ; some, with their lags 
on the back of the opposite seat ; some, with theirs stretched 
out to their utmost length on the floor; some going out, 
others coming in ; all taUdng, laughing, lounging, coughing, 
o-ing, questioning, or groaning ; presenting a conglomeration 
of noise and confosion, to be met with in no other place in. 
existence, not eren excepting Smithfleld on a market-daj, or 
a cockpit in its glory. 

But let us not omit to notice Bellamy's kitchen, or, in other 
words, the refreshment-room, common to both Housss of 
Parliament, where Ministerialists and Oppositionists, WhigB 
and Tories, Radicals, Peers, and Destructiyes, strangers feom tito 
gallery, and the more favoured strangers from below the bar, 
are alike at liberty to resort ; where diyers honourable Mem^ 
bers prove their perfect independence by remaining during tiie 
whole of a heavy debate, solacing themselves with the ereatiize 
comforts; and whence they are summoned by whippers-in, 
when the House is on the point of dividing; either to give 
their " conscientious votes " on questions of which tiiey^ aid 
conscientiously innocent of knowing anything whatever, ox tO' 
find a vent for the playful exuberance of their wine-inspized 
JEOides, in boisterous shouts of '' Divide," occasionally varied 
with a little howling, barking, crowing, or other ebuUitions 
of senatorial pleasantry. 

When you have asoended the narrow staircase which, in the 
present temporary House of Commons, leads to the place we 
are describing, you will probably observe a couple of rooms 
on your right hand, with tables spread for dining. Neither 
of these is the kitchen, although tliey are both devoted to the 
same ptirpose ; the kitchen is further on to our left, up tiliese 
half-dozen stairs. Before we ascend the staircase, howerei^ 



A PABUAMBNTART SOTOH. 147 

we mnst request you to pause in front of this little bar-place 
with the sash-windows ; and beg jour particular attention to 
the steady honest-looking old fdlow in black, who is its sole 
occupant. Nicholas (we do not mind mentioning the old 
fellow's name, for if Nicholaa be not a public man, who is ? — 
and public men's names are public property) — ^Nicholas is the 
Butler of Bellamy's, and has held the same place, dressed 
exactly in the same mann^, and said precisely the same 
thingB, ever since the oldest of its present visitors can remem- 
ber. An excellent servant Nicholaa is — an unrivalled com- 
pounder of salad-dressing — ^an admirable preparer of soda- 
water and lemon — a special mixer of cold grog and punch — 
and, above all, an unequalled judge of cheese. If the old 
man have such a thing as vanity in his composition, this is 
certainly his pride ; and if it be possible to imagine that any 
thing in this world could disturb his impenetrable calmness, 
we i^ould say it would be the doubting his judgment on this 
important point. 

We needn't tell you all this, however, for if you have an 
atom of observation, one glance at his sleek, knowing-looking 
head and face — ^his prim white neckerchief, with the wooden tie 
into which it has been regularly fblded for twenty years past, 
merging by imperceptible degrees into a small-plaited shirt- 
frill — ^and his comfortable-looking form encased in a well- 
bmshed suit of black — would give you a better idea of his real 
dharacter than a column of our poor description could convey. 

Nicholas is rather out of his element now ; he cannot see 
the kitchen as he used to in the old House ; there, one window 
of his glajss-case opened into the room, and then, for the edifi- 
cation and behoof of more juvenile questioners, he would stand 
for an hour together, answering deferential questions about 
Sheridan, and Perceval, and CastiLereagh, and Heaven knows 
who beside, with manifest delight, always inserting a 
'' Mister '' before every commoner's name. 

Nicholas, like all men of his age and standing, has a great 
idea of the degeneracy of the times. He seldom expresses 
any poHfical opinions, but we managed to ascertain, just 
before the passing of the Reform Bill, that Nicholas was a 
thorough Reformer. What was our astonishment to discover 
shortly after the meeting of the first reformed Parliament, 
that he was a most inveterate and decided Tory ! It was very 
odd : some men change their opinions from necessity, others 

l2 



143 8KBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

£rom expediency, others from inspiratioii ; but tliat Nicholas 
should undergo any change in any respect, was an event we 
had never contemplated, and should have considered impos- 
sible. His strong opinion against the clause which empowered 
the metropolitan districts to return Members to Parliament, 
too, was perfectly unaccountable. 

We discovered the secret at last ; the metropolitan Memb^v 
always dined at home. The rascals ! As for giving additional 
Members to Ireland, it was even worse — decidedly imcon- 
stitutional. Why, sir, an Irish Member would go up there, 
and eat more dinner than three English Members put together. 
He took no wine ; drank table-beer by the half-gallon ; and 
went home to Manchester-buildings, or Milbank-street, for his 
whiskey-and-water. And what was the consequence ? Why 
the consem lost — actually lost, sir — ^by his patronage. 

A queer old fellow is Nicholas, and aa completely a part of 
the building as the house itself. We wonder he ever left the 
old place, and fiilly expected to see in the papers, the morning 
after the fire, a pathetic account of an old gentleman in black, 
of decent appearance, who was seen at one of the upper 
windows when the flames were at their height, and declared 
his resolute intention of falling with the floor. He must 
have been got out by force. However, he was got out — ^here 
he is again, looking as he always does, as if he had been in a 
bandbox ever since the last session. There he is, at his old 
post every night, just as we have described him: and, as 
characters are scarce, and faithful servants scarcer, long may 
he be there say we ! 

Now, when you have taken your seat in the kitchen, and 
duly noticed the large fire and roasting-jack at one end of the 
room — the little table for washing glasses and draining jugs 
at the other — ^the dock over the window opposite St. Mar- 
garet's Church — the deal tables and wax candles — ^the damask 
table-doths and bare floor — ^the plate and china on the tables, 
and the gridiron on the fire; and a few other anomalies 
peculiar to the place — ^we will point out to your notice two or 
three of the people present, whose station or absurdities render 
them the most wor^y of remark. 

It is half-past twelve o'dock, and as the division is not 
expected for an hour or two, a few Members are lounging 
away the time here, in preference to standing at the bar of the 
House, or sleeping in one of the side galleries. That singularly 



A PABLIAMBNTAET SKETCH. 140 

awkward and ungainly-looking man, in the brownifih-white 
haty with the stragglLag black trousers which reach about 
half-waj down the leg of his boots, who is leaning against 
the meat-screen, apparently deluding himself into tilie belief 
that he is thinking about something, is a splendid sample 
of a Member of the House of Commons concentrating in his 
own person the wisdom of a constituency. Observe the wig, 
of a dark hue but indescribable colour, for if it be naturally 
brown, it has acquired a black tint by long service, and if it 
be naturally black, the same cause has imparted to it a tinge 
of rusty brown ; and remark how veiy materially the great 
blinker-like spectacles assist the expression of that most 
intelligent face. Seriously speaking, did you ever see a coun- 
tenance so expressive of the most hopeless extreme of heavy 
duluess, or behold a form so strangely put together ? He is 
no great speaker : but when he does address the House, the 
effect is absolutely irresistible. 

The small gentleman with the sharp nose, who has just 
saluted him, is a Member of Parliament, an ex-Alderman, 
and a sort of amateur fireman. He, and the celebrated fire- 
man's dog, were observed to be remarkably active at the con- 
flagration of the two Houses of Parliament — they both ran 
up and down, and in and out, getting under people's feet, and 
into everybody's way, fully impressed with the belief, that 
they were doing a great deal of good, anil barking tremen- 
dously. The dog went quietly back to his kennel with the 
engine, but the gentleman kept up such an incessant noise for 
some weeks after the occurrence, that he became a positive 
nuisance. As no more parliamentary fires have occurred, 
however, and as he- has consequently had no more opportu- 
nities of writing to the newspapers to relate how, by way of 
preserving pictures, he cut them out of their frames, and per- 
formed other great national services, he has gradually relapsed 
into his old state of calmness. 

That female in black — not the one whom the Lord's-Day- 
Bill Baronet has just chucked under the chin ; the shorter of 
the two — is '' Jane : ** the Hebe of Bellamy's. Jane is as 
great a character as Nicholas, in her way. Her leading 
^tures are a thorough contempt for the great majority of 
her visitors ; her predominant quality, love of admiration, as 
you cannot fail to observe, if you mark the glee with which 
she listens to something the young Member near her mutters 



15t BKBTOHBB BT BOZ. 

eomewliat unintelligibly in her ear (for his speech is rafher 
thick jQrom some cause or other), and how playfully she digs 
the handle of a fork into the arm with which he detains hies, 
by way of reply. 

Jane is no bad hand at repartees, and showers them about, 
with a degree of liberality and total absence of reserve or con- 
straint, which occasionalLy excites no small amazement in the 
minds of strangers. She <nits jokes with Nicholas, too, but 
looks up to him with a great deal of respect ; the immoveable 
solidity with which Nicholas receives the aforesaid jokes, and 
looks on at certain pastoral friskings and rompings (Jane's 
only recreations, and they are very innocent too) which occa- 
sionally take place in the passage, is not the least amusing 
part of his character. 

The two persons who are seated at the table in the camer, 
at the farther end of the room, have been constant guests 
here, for many years past; and one of them has feasted 
within these walls, many a tune, with the most brilliant 
characters of a brilliant period. He has gone up to the other 
House since then ; the greater part of his boon, companions 
have shared Yorick's ^te, and his visits to Bellamy's are 
comparatively few. 

If he really be eating his.supper now, at what hour can he 
possibly have dined ! A second solid mass of rump-steak has 
disaj^peared, and he eat the first in fbur minutes and tbr^ 
quarters, by the dock over the window. Was there ever sudx 
a personification of Falstaff I Mark the air wifh which ha 
gloats OFer that Stilton as he removes the napkin which has 
been placed beneath his chin to catch the superfluous gravy 
of the steak, and with what gusto he imbibes the porter 
which has been fetched, eiqpressly for him, in the pewter pot. 
Listen to the hoarse sound of that voice, k^t down as it is 
by layers of soKds, and deep draughts of rich wine, and tell 
us if you ever saw such a perfect picture of a regular gom- 
mand; and whether he is not exactly the man whom you 
would pitch upon as having been the partner of Sheridan's 
parliamentary carouses, the volunteer driver of the hackn^- 
ooach that took him home, and the involuntary upsetter of 
the whole party ? 

What an amufiing contrast between his voice and appear- 
ance, and that of Ihe spare, squeaking old man, who sits at 
the same table, and who elevating a little cracked bantam 




^*iy Srwfeiaiik: 



'^^y^///y:^ _:2C 



// //f'/j . 



^v 



V X, 



PUBUO BDCRBBS. . 161 

■ort of Toioe to its highest pitch, bxvokm danmatioxi upon his 
own eyes or somebody else's at the commenoement of every 
sentence he utters. *' The Captain," as they call him, is a 
very old frequenter of Bellamy's; much addicted to stopping 
"after the House is up " (an inexpiable crime in Jane's eyes), 
and a complete walking reservoir of spirits and water. 

The old Peer — or rather, the old man — ^fbr his peerage is 
of eomparatiyely recent date— has a htige tumbler of hot 
punch brought ^itw ; and the other <1<i.Tmift and drinks, and 
dnnks and damns, and smokes. Members arrive eveiy 
momeDt in a great bustle to leport that " The Chancellor of 
the Exchequer's up," and to get glasses of brandy-and-water 
to sustain them during the division; people who have ordered 
sapper, countermand it, and prepare to go down stairs, when 
soddenly a bell is heard to ring with tremendous violence, 
and a cry of " Di-vi-sion ! " is heard in the passage. This is 
enough"; away rush the members peU-meU. Tlie room is 
deai^ in an instant ; the noise rapidly dies away ; you hear 
the creaking of the last boot on the last stair, and are left 
alone with ^e leviathan of rump-steaks. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

ruBuo mmxtsa. 



Aix public dinners in London, from the Lord Mayor's 
annual banquet at Guildhall, to the Chimney-sweepers' anni- 
versary at White Conduit House; from the Goldsmiths' to 
the Butchers', from the SherifGs' to the Licensed Victuallers' ; 
ore amusing scenes. Of all entertainments of this description, 
however, we think the annual dinner of some public charity 
IS the most amusing. At a Company's dinner, the people are 
nearly ail aHke — ^r^^ular old stagers, who make it a matter of 
business, and a thing not to be laughed at. At a political (^ 
dinner,' everybody is disagreeable, and inclined to speechify — 
much the same thing, by the by ; but at a charity dinner you 
see people of all sorts, kinds, and descriptions. The wine 
may not be remarkably special, to be sure, and we have heard 
some hard-hearted monsters grumble at the collection; but 



152 8EBTGHBS BT BOZ. 

we really think the amufiement to be derired from the oooar 
sion, suffident to oounterbalaixoey eyen these difladvaiitages. 

Let us suppose you are induced to attend a dinner of this 
description — " Indigent Orphans' Friends' Beneyolent Inatita- 
tion,'' we think it is. The name of the charity is a line or 
two longer, but never mind the rest. You have a distinet 
reooUectiony however, that you purchased a ticket at the 
solicitation of some charitable Mend : and you deposit your- 
self in a hackney-coachy the driver of whidfci — ^no doubt that 
you may do the thing in style^tums a deaf ear to your 
earnest entreaties to be set down at the comer of Great Queen- 
street, and persists in carrying you to the very door of the 
Freemasons', round which a crowd of people are assembled to 
witness the entrance of the indigent orphans' Mends. Tou 
hear great speculations as you pay the fare, on the possibilitj 
of your being the noble Lord who is announced to M the 
chair on the occasion, and are highly gratified to hear it even- 
tually decided that you are only a " wocalist." 

The first thing that strikes you, on your entrance, is the 
astonishing importance of the committee. You observe a 
door on the first landing, carefully guarded by two waiters, 
in and out of which stout gentlemen with very red faces keep 
running, with a degree of speed highly unbecoming the 
gravity of persons of their years and corpulency. You pause, 
quite alarmed at the bustle, and thinking, in your innocence, 
that two or three people must have been carried out of the 
dining-room in fits, at least. You are immediately undeceived 
by the waiter—" Up stairs, if you please, sir ; this is the 
committee-room." Up stairs you go, accordingly; wondering, 
as you mount, what the duties of the committee can be, and 
whether they ever do anything beyond confusing each other, 
and running over the waiters. 

Having deposited your hat and doak, and received a re- 
markably small scrap of pasteboard in exchange (which, as a 
matter of course, you lose, before you require it again), you 
enter the hall, down which there are three long tables for the 
less distinguished guests, with a cross table on a raised plat- 
form at the upper end for the reception of the very particalar 
Mends of the indigent orphans. Being fortunate enough to 
find a plate without anybody's card in it, you wisely seat 
yourself at once, and have a little leisure to look about you. 
Waiters, with wine -baskets in their hands, are placing 



PUBLIO DIKNBBa 1(3 

decanters of sheny down the tables, at Tery respectable dis- 
tanoee ; melancboly-lookmg saltcellars, and decayed vinegar- 
cruets, which might have belonged to the parents of the 
indigent orphans in their time, are scattered at distant inter- 
vals on the doth ; and the knives and forks look as if they 
had done duty at every public dinner in London since the 
accession of George the First. The musicians are scraping 
and grating and screwing tremendously — ^playing no notes 
but notes of preparation ; and several gentlemen are gliding 
along the sides of the tables, looking into plate after plate 
with frantic eagerness, the expression of their coimtenanoes 
growing more and more dismal as they meet with evezybody's 
card but their own. 

You turn round to take a look at the table behind you, and 
— not being in the habit of attending public dinners — are 
somewhat struck by the appearance of the party on which 
your eyes rest. One of its principal members appears to be 
a little man, with a long and rather inflamed fSace, and gray 
hair brushed bolt upright in front ; he wears a wisp of black 
silk round his neck, without any stiffener, as an apology for 
a neckerchief, and is addressed by his companions by the 
familiar appdlation of ''Fitz," or some such monosyllable. 
Near him is a stout man in a white neckerchief and buff 
waistcoat, with shining dark hair, cut very short in front, and 
a great round healthy-looking &ce, on which he studiously 
preserves a half-sentimental simper. Next him, again, is a 
large-headed man, with black hair and bushy whiskers ; and 
opposite them are two or three others, one of whom is a little 
round-faced person, in a dress-stock and blue under-waistooat. 
There is something peculiar in their air and manner, though 
you could hardly describe what it is ; you cannot divest your- 
self of the idea that they have come for some other purpose 
than mere eating and drinking. You have no time to debate 
the matter, however, for the waiters (who have been arranged 
in lines down the room, placing the dishes on table), retire to 
the lower end ; the dark man in the blue coat and bright 
buttons, who has the direction of the music, looks up to the 
galleiy, and calls out ''band" in a very loud voice; out 
burst the orchestra, up rise the visitors, in march fourteen 
stewards, each with a long wand in his hand, like the evil 
genius in a pantomime; then the chairman, IJien the titled 
visitors j they all make their way up the room, as feist as they 



154 8CEIGHBB BY BOZ. 

can, bowing, and smiling, and smirking, and looking zemaik- 
aiAj amiable. The api^Aiise ceases, grace is said, ^e dattar 
cf plates and dishes b^;xDs; and every one appeals highly 
grati£ed, either with the presence of the distinguished visitorB, 
or the commencement of the amdonsl j expected dinner. 

As to the dinner itself — the mere dinner — ^it goes off much 
the same eyexywhare. Tureens of soup are emptied with 
awfdl rapidity — waitera take plates of turbot away, to get 
lobster-sauce, and bring back plates of lobster-sauce withoot 
turbot ; people who can carve poultry, are great fools if they 
own it, and people who can't, have no wi^ to leanu The 
knives and forks foim a plea^dng accompaniment to Auber's 
music, and Auber's music would form a pleasing accompani- 
ment to the dinner, if you could hear anything besides the 
<^nnbals. The substantials disappear — ^moulds of jelly yaniah 
like lightning — ^heariy eaters wipe their foreheads, and appear 
rather orercome with their recent exertions — ^people who have 
looked veiy cross hitherto, become remarkably bland, and ask 
you to take wine in the most &iendly manner possible— old 
gentlemen direct your attention to the ladies' galleiy, and 
take great pains to impress you with the fact that the charity 
is always peculiarly £Eivoured in this respect — eveiy one 
appears disposed to become talkative — and the hum of con- 
versation is loud and generaL 

''Pray, silence, gentlemen, if you please, for N<m fio6t«/" 
shouts the toast-master with stentorian lungs — a toast-master's 
shirt-front, waistcoat, and neckerchief, by the by, always ex- 
hibit three distinct shades of doudy-white. — ''Pray, silence, 
gentlemen, for Non ndbui ** The singers, whom you discover 
to be no other than the very party that excited your curiosify 
at first after " pitching " their voices immediately b^:in too- 
toomg most dismally, on which the regular old stagers burst 
into occasional cries of — "Sh — Sh — waiters! — Silence, waiters 
— stand still, waiters — ^keep back, waiters,'' and other exor- 
cisms, deliTered in a tone of indignant remonstrance. The 
grace is soon concluded, and the company resume their seats. 
The uninitiated portion of the guests applaud Noti nobU as 
vehemently as if it were a capital comic song, greatly to the 
scandal and indignation of the regular diners, who imme- 
diately attempt to queU this sacrilegious approbation, by cries 
0f " Hush, hush ! " whereupon the others, miBtalring these 
sounds for hisses, applaud more tumultuously than before, 



PUBLIC DimBBS. 106 

aoDid, by way of placong their approval beyond ihe poBsibility 
of doabt, fihout *^ Encore T* most Yocifbroosly. 

The moment the noise oeases, up starts the toast-master :-— 
" Gendemen, chaige your glasses, if you please ! " Decanters 
baving been handed about, and glasses filled, the toast-master 
proceeds, in a regular ascending scale ; — " Gentlemen — air — 
you — all charged? Pray — sUanoe — gentlemen — for — the 
oha — i — r ! " The chairman rises, and, after stating that he 
leels it quite unnecessary to preface the toast be is about to 
propose -with any observations whatever, wanders into a maze 
of sentences, and flounders about in the most extraordinary 
manner, presenting a lamentable spectacle of mystifled 
humanity, until he anives at the words, ''constitutional 
sovereign of these realms," at which elderly gentlemen 
ezdaim '' Bravo I " and hammer die table tremendously with 
their knife-bandke. ''Under any drcumstanoes, it would 
give him the greatest pride, it would give him the greatest 
pleasure — ^he might abnost say, it would afford him satis- 
tdidion [cheen] to propose that toast Wbat must be bis 
faelings, tben, when he has Ibe gratification of announcing, 
that be bas received ber Majesty's commands to apply to the 
Treasurer of ber Majesty's Household, for ber Majesty's 
ommal donation of 25L, in aid of the funds of this charily ! " 
This annoimoement (which baa been reg^ularly made by eveiy 
chairman, since the first fbundatian of the obaniy, forty -two 
years ago) calls fortb the most vociferous applause ; the toast 
is drunk with a great deal of cheering and knoddng ; and 
" God save the Queen " is sung by the " professional gentle- 
men;" the unprofessional gentlemen joining in the chorus, 
and giving the national anthem an effect which the news- 
papers, with great justice, describe as "perfectly electrical" 

The other " loyal and patriotic " toasts having been drunk 
with all due enthusiasm, a comic song baving been well sung 
by the gentleman with the small neckerchief, and a senti- 
mental one by the second of tbe party, we oome to the most 
important toast of the evenings— " Proiq>erity to the charity." 
Hero again we are compelled to adopt newspaper phraseology, 
and to express our r^^ret at being " precluded from giving 
even the substance of the noble lord's observations." Suffice 
it to say, that the speech, whicb is somewhat of the longest, 
is rapturously received ; and the toast baving been drunk, tbe 
stewards (looking more important than ever) leave the room, 



156 SEBTCHES BT BOZ. 

and presently return^ heading a piocession of indigent 
orphans, boys and girls, who walk round the room, omts^- 
ing, and bowing, and treading on each other's heels, and 
looking yexy much as if they would like a glass of wine 
apiece, to the high gratification of the company generally, and 
especially of the lady patronesses in the gallery. Exeunt 
children, and re-enter stewards, each with a blue plate in his 
hand. The band plays a lively air; the majority of the 
company put their hands in their pockets and look rath^ 
serious; and the noise of sovereigns, rattling on crockery, is 
heard from all parts of the room. 

Affcer a short inierval, occupied in singing and toasting, the 
secretary puts on his spectacles, and proceeds to read the 
report and list of subscriptions, the latter being listened to 
with great attention. . '' Mr. Smith, one guinea-^Mr. Tdmp- 
kins, one guinea — Mr. Wilson, one guinea — ^Mr. HicksoUy one 
guinea — ^Mr. Nixon, one guinea — Mr. Charles Nixon, on^ 
guinea — [hear, hear !]-— Mr. James Nixon, one guinea — ^Mr. 
Thomas Nixon, one pound one [tremendous applause]. Lord 
Fitz Binkle, the chairman of the day, in addition to an annuid 
donation of fifteen pounds — thirty guiheias [prolonged knock'*, 
ing : several gentlemen knock the stexhs ^S their wine-glasses, 
in the vehemence of their approbation]. ' Lady Fitz Binklet, 
in addition to an annual donation of ten pound— twenty 
pound " [protracted knocking and shouts of " Bravo!"]*' The 
list being at length concluded, the chairman rises and proposes 
the healdi of the secretary, than whom he knows ..no mote 
zealous or estimable individual. The secretary, in returning 
thanks, observes that he knows no more excellent individual 
than the chairmau—i^except the senior officer of the charity, 
whose health he begs to propose. The senior officer in return- 
ing thanks, observes thatAe knows no more worthy man than 
the secretary — except Mr. Walker, the auditor, whoseJiealth 
he begs to propose. Mr. Walker, in returning thanks, dis- 
covers some other estimable individual, to whom alone the 
senior officer is inferior^— and so they go on toasting and 
lauding and thanking: the only other toast of importance 
being " The Lady Patronesses now present ! " on which all the 
gentlemen turn their faces towards the ladies' gallery, shout- 
ing tremendously ; and littte priggish men, who have imbibed 
more wine than usual, kiss their hands and exhibit distressing 
contortions of visage. 




■ / ■ -"', 



v 



l''"^^. 



\ 



^ 






> 



THB FIBST OF MAT. 157 

We have protracted our dinner to so great a length, tliat 
we have hardly time to add one word by way of grace. We 
can only entreat our readers not to imagine, because we have 
attempted to extract some amusement from a charity dinner, 
that we are at all disposed to underrate, either the excellence 
of the benevolent institutions with whidi London abounds, or 
the estimable motives of those who support them. 



CHAPTER XX. 



THl FIBST or HAT. 



** Now ladies, up in tlie aky-parlonr : only once a year, if yon please !*' 

YouNO Ladt with Bbass Ladlb. 

" Sweep — sweep — sw-e-ep !" 

Illboal Watohwobo. 

The first of May ! There is a merry freshness in the sound, 
calling to our minds a thousand thoughts of all that is pleasant 
and beautiful in nature, in her most delightful form. What 
man is there, over whose mind a bright spring morning does 
not exercise a magic influence— carrying him back to the days 
of his childish eports, and conjuring up before him the old 
green field with its gently-waving trees, where the birds sang 
as he has never heard them since — where the butterfly 
fluttered far more gaily than he ever sees him now, in all his 
ramblings — where the sky seemed bluer, and the sun shone 
more brightly — ^where the air blew more freshly over greener 
grass, and sweeter-smelling flowers — ^where every thing wore 
a richer and more brilliant hue than it is ever dressed in now ! 
Such are the deep feelings of childhood, and such are the 
impressions which every lovely object stamps upon its heart ! 
The hardy traveller wanders through the maze of thick and 
pathless woods, where the sun's rays never shone> and heaven's 
pure air never played ; he stands on the brink of the roaring 
waterfiEdl, and, giddy and bewildered, watches the foaming 
mass as it leaps from stone to stone, and from crag to crag ; 
he lingers in the fertile plains of a land of perpetual sunshine, 
and revels in the luxury of their balmy breath. But what 
are the deep forests, or the thundering waters, or the riohefti 



158 SERT0HB9 BT BOZ. 

landscapes that bounteous nature ever epresd, to charm the 
eyes, and captivate tiiie senses of man, compaired with the 
recollection of the old scenes of his eaxij youth ? Magic 
scenes indeed, for the fancies cxf childhood dressed them in 
colours brighter than the rainbow, and almost as fleeting ! 

In former times, spring brought with it not only such 
associations as these, connected with the past, but sports and 
games for the present — ^meny dances round rustic pillars, 
adorned with emblems of the season, and reared in honour of 
its coming. Where are they now ! Pillars we have, but they 
are no longer rustic ones ; and as to dancers, they are used to 
rooms, and lights, and would not show well in l^e open air. 
Think of the immorality, too! What would your sabbath 
enthusiasts say, to an aristocratic ring endrding the Duke of 
York's column in Carlton-terrace — a grand poussetu of the 
middle classes, round Alderman Waithman's monument in 
Meet-street,— or a general hands-four-round of ten-pound 
householders, at the toot of the Obelisk in St. George's-fields? 
Alas ! romance can make no head against the riot act ; and 
pastoral simplicity is not understood l^ tiiie police. 

Well ; many years ago we began to be a steady and matter- 
of-&ct sort of people, and danciTig in spring being beneath 
our dignity, we gave it up, and in course of time it descended 
to the sweeps — a £all certainly, because, though sweeper are 
very good fdlows in their way, and moreover very usefiil in a 
civilised community, they are not exactly the sort of people to 
give the tone to the little elegances of wodety. The sweeps, 
however, got the dancing to themselves, and they kept it up^ 
and handed it down. TUs was a severe blow to tiiie romance 
of spring-time, but, it did not entirely destroy it, either ; far 
a portion of it descended to the sweeps with the dancing, and 
rendered them objects of great interest. A mystery hung 
over the sweeps in tibose days. Legends were in existence of 
wealthy gentlemen who had lost children, and who, after 
many years of sorrow and sufiBaring, had found them in tiie 
character of sweeps. Stories were related of a young boy 
who, having been stolen from his parents in his iiifanoy, and 
devoted to the occupation of chimney-sweeping, was sent, in 
the course of his professional career, to sweep &e chimney of 
his mother's bedroom ; and how, being hot and tired when he 
came out of the chimney, he got into the bed he had 00 often 
in as an infant, and was discovered and reoognised 



THB FIB8T OF MAT. 159 

tbarein by his mother, who omce eveiy year of her life, there- 
afbar, zequested the pleasure of tiiie oompany of OTeiy London 
sweep, at half-past one o'dodk, to roast beef, phim-pndding, 
porter, and sizpenoe. 

SuidL stories as these, and there were many such, threw an 
air of mystery round the sweeps, and produced for them some 
of those good effects which animalfl derive from the doctrine 
of the transmigration of souls. No one (except the masters) 
&ought of ill-treating a sweep, because no one knew who he 
migUi be, or what nobleman's or gentleman's son he might 
turn out. Chimney-sweeping was, by many believers in the 
marrellons, considered as a sort of probationary term, at an 
earlier or later period of whidi, divers young noblemen were 
to come into possession of their rank and titles; and the 
profession was held by them in great respect accordingly. 

We remember, in our young days, a Httle sweep about our 
own age, with curly hair and white teeth, whom we devoutly 
and sinoerely believed to be the lost son and heir of some 
iUnstriaus personage — an impression which was resolved into 
an unchangeable conviction on our infrnt mind, by the subject 
of our speculations informing us, one day, in reply to our 
question, propounded a few moments before his ascent to the 
summit of the kitchen chimney, " that he believed he 'd been 
bom in the yurkis, but he 'd never knoVd his father." We 
felt ceirtain, from that time ferth, that he would one day be 
owned by a lord; and we never heard the dhurdi-bells ring, 
or saw a flag hoisted in the neighbourhood, without thinking 
tiiat the happy event had at last occurred, and that his long- 
lost parent had arrived in a coach and six, to take him home 
to Qrosvenor-square. He never came, however ; and, at the 
present moment, the young gentleman in question is settled 
down as a master sweep in the neighbourhood of Battle- 
faridge, his distinguishing characteristics being a dedded 
antipathy to washing himflelf, and the possession of a pair of 
legs very inadequate to the support of his unwieldy and 
ooxpnlent body. 

The romance of spring having gone out before our time, 
we were fein to console ourselves as we beet could with the 
uncertainty that envebped the birth and parentage of its 
attendant dancers, the sweeps ; and we did console ourselves 
wit^ it, for many years. But, even this wretched souroe of 
comiknrt received a shock, firom which it has never recovered 



160 8KBTCHKS BY BOZ. 

•^^ ahock, which has beezi, in reality, its death-blow. We 
could not disguise from ourselves the flact that whole families 
of sweeps were regularly bom of sweeps, in the rural districts 
of Somers Town and Camden Town — ^that the eldest son 
succeeded to the father's business, that the other branches 
assisted him therein, and commenced on their own account; 
that their children again, were educated to tiiie profession; 
and that about their identity there could be no mistake what« 
ever. We could not be blind, we say, to this melancholy 
truth, but we could not bring ourselves to admit it, neverthe- 
less, and we lived on for some years in a state of voluntaxy 
ignorance. We were roused from our pleasant slumber by 
certain dark insinuations thrown out by a Mend of ours, to 
the effect that children in the lower ranks of life were begin- 
ning to choose chimney-sweeping as their particular walk; 
that applications had been made by various boys to the con- 
stituted authorities, to allow them to pursue the object of 
their ambition with the full concurrence and sanction of the 
law ; that the affair, in short, was becoming one of mere legal 
contract. We turned a deaf ear to these rumours at first, but 
slowly and surely they stole upon us. Month after month, 
week after week, nay, day after day, at last, aid we meet with 
accounts of similar applications. The veil was remove<', all 
mystery was at an end, and chimney-sweeping had become a 
jfiEtvourite and chosen pursuit. There is no longer any occasion 
to steal boys; for boys flock in crowds to bind themselves. 
The romance of the trade has fled, and the chimney-sweeper 
of the present day, is no more like unto him of thirty years 
ago, than is a Fleet-street pickpocket to a Spanish brigand, or 
Paul Pry to Caleb Williams. 

This gradual decay and disuse of the practice of leading 
noble youths into captivity, and compelling them to ascend 
chimneys, was a severe blow, if we may so speak, to the 
romance of chimney-sweeping, and to the romance of spring 
at the same time. But even this was not all, for some few 
years ago the dancing on May-day began to dedine ; small 
sweeps were observed to congregate in twos or threes, unsup- 
ported by a '' green,'' with no '' My Lord " to act as master of 
the ceremonies, and no "My Lady" to preside over the 
exchequer. Even in companies where there was a '* green " 
it was an absolute nothing — a mere sprout — and the instru- 
mental accompaniments rarely extended beyond the shovels 



THB FIBST OF MAT. 161 

and a Bet of Pan-pipes, better known to the many, as a 
"mouth-organ." 

These were signs of the times, portentous omens of a 
oomingchange; and what was the result which they shadowed 
forth? Why, the master sweeps, influenced by a restless 
spirit of innovation, actually interposed their authority, in 
opposition to the dancing, and substituted' a dinner — ^an 
anniversaiy dinner at White Conduit House — where clean 
fiaoes appeared in lieu of black ones smeared with rose pink ; 
and knee cords and tops superseded nankeen drawers and 
rosetted shoes. 

Gentlemen who were in the habit of riding shy horses ; and 
steady-going people, who have no Yagrancy in their souls, 
lauded this alteration to the skies, and the conduct of the 
master sweeps was described as beyond the reach of praise. 
But how stands the real fact ? Let any man deny, if he can, 
that when the doth had been removed, fresh pote and pipes 
laid upon the table, and the customary loyal and patriotic 
toaste proposed, the celebrated Mr. Sluflen, of Adam-and-Eye- 
court, whose authority not the most malignant of our oppo- 
nents can call in question, expressed himself in a manner 
following: "That now he'd coteht the cheerman's hi, he 
vished he might be jolly yell blessed, if he wom't a g<}in' to 
have his innings, vich he vould say these here obserwashuns — 
that how some mischeevus coves as knoVd nuffin about the 
consam, had tried to sit people agin the mas'r swips, and 
take the shine out o' their bis'nes, and the bread out o' the 
traps o' their preshus kids, by a' makin' o' this here remark, 
as chimblies could be as yell svept by 'sheenery as by boys ; 
and that the makin' use o' boys for that there purpuss vos 
babazeous; yereas, he 'ad been a chummy — ^he begged the 
cheerman's parding for tisui' such a wulgar hezpression — 
more nor thirty year — ^he might say he'd been bom in a 
chimbley — and he know'd uncommon yell as 'sheenery yos 
yufl nor o' no use : and as to kerhewelty to the boys, every 
body in the chimbley line know'd as veil as he did, ^at they 
liked the dimbin' better nor nuffin as vos." From this day, 
we date the total fall of the last lingering remnant of May-day 
dancing, among the elite of the profession: and from this 
period we commence a new era in that portion of our spring 
associations, whidi relates to the 1st of May. 

We are aware that the unthinking part of the poptilation 



162 SEBTGSn BY BOZ. 

will meet us here, with tke Mserticai, lliat dancisg on May- 
day stilL Gontiiiues — ^h&t " greens " are aontially BMn to toU 
akoig 1^ streets — that joutiis in tlie gaorb of oiowns, precede 
them, giving veaat to the ebullitions of isksh vpoirdwe £uioiee ; 
aad l^at lords aad ladies follow in their wb^b. 

Granted. We are iwady to adauywle^B tluKt in x>ixtwaxd 
show^ these piooeaaoiis have greatly improved: we do not 
deny the iatrodttotion of ed^ on the dnun; we will evvn go 
so :&r as to admit an ooocmnud fantawa on tile tmaoigley but 
here our admianoBS end. We positively deny tibat tiie sweeps 
have art or part in these proceedings. We distinctly ofaaige 
the dustmen with throwing what they ought to eLeor away, 
into the eyes of the public. We aocuse eoavengera, btkk- ^ 
makers, aod gentLnaen who devote thair €nergieB to i^e 
oostermongeriag HnQ, wi^ ohtainiBg money wxod a^year, under 
MsepreteBoes. We dii^ with peculiar fondnflas to the coBtam 
of days gone by, and have ciiut eat oonviotdon as long m we 
ooold, but it has fosoed itself upon as; and we now pzooiaim 
to a deluded public, that the Muy^dBsy daneers ne no* swwpB. 
The size of them, aione, .is euffieient to irapisiinfce 1im.idea. It 
is a notorious iiot that the widetf-^upvead taste for xegifltar- 
stoves has materially .inoreased Ihe demaad for small bqye; 
whsEreas the men, who, under a fictitions dmsaGter, dune 
about the atreets on the first of May nowadajn, would be a 
tight fit in a^dtchen flue, to «ay nothing of the parlour. Has 
is strong pvesumpti'tw evidence, but we have poeitrve practf — 
the evidence of our own senaes. And here is ear testiinany. 

Upon the morning of the seooed of the meny moBth of 
May, in ihe year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
thirfy-siz, we went out Ibr a «troll, with a kind of lodotn 
hope of seeing somethiiig or o&er which might indnse «b to 
believe that it was really spring, and not ChzistBiaB. jAJfcer 
wandering as far as Copenhagen House, without meafcing my 
thing oalonlated to dispel our impreanon that iheve was a 
mistahjfl in the almimafthB, we turned back dcwnMaidan-laiiB, 
with the intention of passing Iteongh the eKteaarve ooloDy 
lying between it and Batiie*bridge, which is inhabited 1^ 
propxiotors of donkey-carts, boilers of horseflesh, maleara itf 
tiles, and sifters of chiders; Ihrough which ooicoy we ahon&d 
have passed, without stoppage or interruption, if a little crowd 
gathered round a ahed had not attracted onr 
induced us to pause. 



THS FIB£er OF ICAT. US 

When we saj a " shed," we do not mean the consenratoiy 
fiort of buildiog, which, acQording to the old song, Loi^e 
tenanted when he was a jonng maa, but a wooden house with 
windows stufiBsd with rags and paper, and a small yard at the 
side, wifli one dust-cart, two baskets, a few sboYels, and little 
haaps of cmdeiss, and fragments of china and tHes, scattered 
about it. Before this inviting spot we paused^ and the 
louger we looked, the more we wondered what exciting 
ciicomstanoe it could be, that induced the foremost members 
of the crowd to ^tten their neses against the parlour window, 
in the yain hope of catching a gilimpse of what was going on 
inside. Afiier staring yacantlj about us for some minutes, we 
appealed, touching the cause of this assemblage, to a gentleman 
in a suit of taipaulxng, who was jsmokiog his pipe on our 
.light hand; but as the only answer we obtained was .a playfiil 
iaquiry whether our mothar had du^>osed of her xnangle, we 
.dfltennined to await the issueia aOfince. 

Judge of our virtuous indignation, when the street door of 
iJie abed opened, and a party emerged therefiK>m, dad in the 
.oostnme and emulating the appearamse, of May-day sweeps ! 

Tba first persan who appeued was "my lord,'' habited jm 
« Use coat and bright buttons, with gUt paper tacked over 
the seams, yeUow knee-breeches, pink cotton stockioga, and 
shoes; a (X)cked hat, ornamented with ahreds of various- 
coloured paper, on his head, a bouquet, the size of a prize 
cauliflower in his button-hole, a long Belcher handkerchief in 
his right hand, and a thin cane in his left. A murmur of 
applause ran through the crowd (which was chiefly composed 
of his lordship's personal Mends), when this graceful flgure 
made his appearance, which tnroDed into a burst of applause 
as his fair partner in the dance bounded forth to join him. 
Her ladyship was attired in pink crape over bed-fumitore, 
mth a low body and short .deevea. The symmetry of her 
anUeB was jmrtiaPy «oiuealed by a Tesy perceptible pair of 
\fdllad faKxamro; and the xnoonvenifiinfie which might have 
xaaulted from .the cuxnzmfitanoe of her white aatin shoes being 
jx few sine too iange, was olmated by their being .Simly 
>«ttflohfid .to herl^ with .strong tape sandals. 

JBtar liead was oxnamented wiSi a profiiaion of artififiial 
3ofwjBam; and .in her hand «he boare a hage hraas Jadle, 
wherein to xeoeive what she ^gncatively denominated "the 
tin." Ihe other fihacactexB WBre^a young gentleman in girVs 

v2 



164 SEBTOHSS BY BOZ. 

dotheB and a widow's cap ; two downs who walked upon their 
hands in the mud, to the immeasurable delight of all the 
spectators ; a man with a drum ; another man with a 
flageolet ; a dirty woman in a large shawl, with a box under 
her arm for the money, — and last, though not least, the 
'' green," animated by no less a personage than our identical 
friend in the tarpauling suit. 

The man hammered away at the drum, the flageolet 
squeaked, the shovels rattled, the ''green" rolled about, 
pitching flrst on one side and then on the other ; my lady 
threw her right foot oyer her left ankle, and her left foot over 
her right ankle, alternately ; my lord ran a few paces forward, 
and butted at the ** green," and then a few paces backward 
upon the toes of the crowd, and then went to the right, and 
then to the left, and then dodged my lady round the " green ; " 
and Anally drew her arm through his, and called upon the 
boys to shout, which they did lustily — ^for this was the 
dancing. 

We passed the same group, acddentally, in the OTening. 
We neyer saw a " green " so drunk, a lord so quarrelsome 
(no : not even in the house of peers after dinner), a pair of 
clowns so melancholy, a lady so muddy, or a party bd 
miserable. 

How has May-day decayed ! 



CHAPTER XXI. 

BBOUEBS' AND lCABnnB>8I0BB SHOPS. 



When we affirm that brokers' shops are strange places, 
and that if an authentic history of their contents could be 
procured, it would fdmish many a page of amusement, and 
many a melancholy tale, it is necessary to explain the class of 
shops to which we allude. Perhaps when we make use of the 
term '' Brokers' Shop," the minds of our readers will at once 
picture large, handsome warehouses, exhibiting a long per- 
spectiye of French-polished dining-tables, rosewood duflTonierB, 
and mahogany wa!sh-hand-stands, with an occasional yista of 
a four-post bedstead and hangings, and an appropriate fore- 



BBOEEBff AND MABINB-STORB SHOPS. 165 

ground of dming-TOom chairs. Perhaps they will imagine 
tihat we mean an humble dass of second-hand furniture re« 
positories. Their imagination will then naturally lead them 
to that street at the back of Long-acre, which is composed 
almost entirely of brokers' shops; where you walk through 
groves of deceitful, showy-looking furniture, and where the 
prospect is occasionally enliTened by a bright red, blue, and 
yellow hearth-rug, embellished with the pleasing device of a 
mail-coach at full speed, or a strange animal, supposed to have 
been originally intended for a dog, with a mass of worsted- 
work in his mouth, which conjecture has likened to a basket 
of flowers. 

This, by the by, is a tempting article to young wives in the 
humbler ranks of life, who have a first floor-front to furnish 
— ^they are lost in admiration, and hardly know which to 
admire most. The dog is very beautiful, but they have a dog 
already on the best tea-tray, and two more on the mantel- 
piece. Then, there is something so genteel about that mail- 
coach ; and the passengers outside (who are all hat) give it 
such an air of reality ! 

The goods here are adapted to the taste, or rather to the 
means, of cheap purchasers. There are some of the most 
beautiful looking Pembroke tables that were ever beheld : the 
wood as green as the trees in the Park, and the leaves almost 
as certain to fall off in the course of a year. There is also a 
most extensive assortment of tent and turn-up bedBteads, made 
of stained wood; and innxmierable specimens of that base 
imposition on society — a sofa bedstead. 

A turn-up bedstead is a blunt, honest piece of fiimiture ; it 
may be slightly disguised with a sham drawer; and some- 
times a mad attempt is even made to pass it off for a book- 
case ; ornament it as you will, however, the turn-up bedstead 
seems to defy disguise, and to insist on having it distinctly 
understood that he is a turn-up bedstead, and nothing else — 
that he is indispensably necessary, and that being so useful, 
he disdains to be ornamental. 

How diflerent is the demeanour of a sofa bedstead! 
Ashamed of its real use, it strives to appear an article of 
luxury and gentility — an attempt in which it miserably fails. 
It has neither the respectability of a sofa, nor the virtues of a 
bed; every man who keeps a sofa bedstead in his house, 
becomes a party to a wilful and designing fraud — ^we question 



166 nSTCfflB BT BOZ. 

yrhfffbxft yon cotdd iissult him mooe, thim bf insbniatmg tiufe 
yoa entotain the least smpiekm of its zeal tise. 

To retom from this digresBion^ ire b^ to aay^ thoirneilter 
of tilieee dassee of bn^egrft' siiops, fbrm the jeRibjeet of 1hi» 
sketch. The shops to irhieh w& advearty are immeasuzaUf 
iafyrwT to those on whose outwasd appearaaee we hMra- 
sHghtly toudied. Oar readei» weatik oftm have obeerred is 
some by-street> in a poii»r neighbourhood, a small diiiy fliiom 
exposrag fbr sale the most eKtmardinary and oonflifled jxmxUe 
of old, wom-ont, wretched isrtieleS; t&at can well, be imagiTigfl. 
Ottr wonder at their ever having been bough?t, zs only to ber 
equalled by our astonishment at the idea of their ever bemg 
sold again. On a board, at the eade of liie door, aro placed 
about twenty books — all odd vtdumes; and as many wine- 
glasses — aU different pattenis ; several locks, an old eaitfaeB- 
waie pan, full of rusty keys ; two or ti!iree gaudy dhinmiy' 
orttament»— tracked, of couone; ihe remains of a lustn^ 
without stay drops ; a roimd frame like a capital O, which has 
once held a mirror; a flute, complete witii the ezoeptioii of 
the middle joiat ; a pair of curling-irons ; and a tinder-bsac: 
In front of the shop-window, are ranged some half-dozen high- 
backed chairs, with spinal complaints and wasted legs; a 
comer cupboard; two or ihree very dai^ mahogany tables 
with flaps like mathematical problems; some pickle-jazB, 
some surgeons' ditto, with gilt labels and without stoppcvs; 
an usframed portrait of some lady who flourished about &e 
beginning of the thirteenth century, by an artist who n<9ver 
flourished at all ; an incalculable host of misoeUanies of ewy 
desoription, induding bottles and cabinets, rags and bones, 
fenders and street-door knoekera, flre-irons^ weazing-appaiE^ 
and bedding, a hall-lamp, and a room-door. Inuigine, in 
addition to tiiis incongruous mass, a black doll in a white 
frock, with two fhoes-— one looking up the street, and tfie 
other looking down, swinging over the door ; a board with the 
squeezed-up inscription '' Dealer in marine stores," in lanky 
white letters, whose height is strangely out of proportion to 
their width ; and you have before you precisely tlie kind of 
shop to which we wi^ to direct your attention. 

Although the same heterogeneous mixture of things will be 
foimd at all these places, it is carious to observe how tanily 
and accurately some of the minor articles which are exposed 
for sale — articles of weanng-appard, for instance — marik the 



BROLBBS* AND KABSHB^afiaBB SHOPS. 107 

charseteit of the neighbourliood. Take Dnuy -lane aod Cotbd:^ 
garden for ezample. 

Hade ie essentially a theairieal neigliboiirhoed. There ia 
not a potboy in the Yioinity who is not, to a greater or leas 
extent, a dramatio chaneter. The ezrand-boys and chandler's- 
shop-keepen^ sons, are all stage^strock : they ^* get up " iphkys 
in baok kitohene hired for ihe purpose, andTnU stand before a 
shop-window fbr hoBTS, oontempkLating a. great* staring portrait 
of Mr. somebody or other, of &e Royal Cobnrg Theatre, '' as 
he appeared in the character of Tongo the Denounced." The 
consequence is, that there is not a marine-store shop in the 
neighbourhood, which does not esldbit for sale some faded 
aitides of dramatio finery, sach a» three or four pairs of scaled 
buff boots with tum-Ofeor red tops, heretofore worn by a 
" ^urth robber," or " fifth mob ; " a padr of rosiy broad- 
sworde, a ftw gauntiets, and certain resplendent omamenta, 
which, if they were yellow instead of white, might be taken 
for insurance plates of the Sun Fae-ofiBee. There are serend 
of these shops in the narrow streets and dirty courts, of ^^ch 
there are so many near the national theatres, and they all 
have tempting goods of this deaoription, with the addition, 
perhaps, of a lady's pink dress coTered with spangles ; white 
wreaths, stage shoes, and a tiara like a tin lamp refleetor. 
They haye been purchased of some wreiohed sapemumeraries, 
or sixth-rate actors, and are now ofiered £or the benefit of the 
rising generation, who, on condition of making certain weekly 
payments, amounting in tiie whole to about ten times tiieir 
value, may avail themselves of such desirable bargains. 

Let us take a very different quarter, and apply it to the 
same test. Look at a marine-store dealer's, in that reservoir 
of dirt, drunkenness, and drabs: thieves, oysters, baked 
potatoes, and pickled salmon — ^Ratoliff-highway. Here, tiie 
wearing-apparel is all nautical. Rough blue jackets, with 
mother-of-pearl buttons, oil-skin hats, coarse cheeked shirts^ 
and large canvass trousers that look as if they were made for 
a pair of bodies instead of a pair of legs, are the staple com- 
modities, llien, there are large bunches of cotton pocket- 
handkerchiefs, in colour and pattern unlike any, one ever saw 
before, with the exception of those on the backs of the three 
young ladies without bonnets who passed just now. The 
furniture is much the same as elsewhere, with the addition of 
one or two models of ships, and some old prints of naval 



168 8EET0HKS BY BOZ. 

engagements in still older frames. In the window, are a few 
compasseSy a small tray containing silver watches in dunuiy 
thick cases; and tobacco-boxes, the lid of each ornamented 
willi a ship, or an anchor, or some such trophy. A sailor 
generally pawns or sells all he has before he has been long 
ashore, and if he does not, some &Tonred companion kind)^ 
saves him the trouble. In either case, it is an even chance 
that he afterwards nnoonscionsly repurdiases the same things 
at a higher price than he gave fot them at first. 

Again: pay a visit with a similar object, to a part ol 
London, as unlike both of these as they are to each other. 
Cross over to the Surrey side, and look at such shops of this 
description as are to be dEbund near the King's Bench prison, 
and in ''the Kules;'-' JEEbw different, and how strikingly 
illustrative of the decay of some of the unfortunate residents 
in this part of the metropolis! Imprisonment and neglect 
have done their work. There is contamination in the profli- 
gate denizens of a debtor's prison ; old friends have fjallan off; 
the recollection ci former prosperity has parsed away; and 
with it an thoughts for the past, all care for the ^iture. 
First, watdies and rings, then cloaks, coats, and all the mose 
expensive articles of dress, have found their way to the pawn- 
broker's. That miserable resource has failed at last, and the 
sale, of some trifliz^ article at one of these shops, has been 
the. only mode left of raising a shilling or two, to meet the 
urgent demands of the moment. Dressing-cases and writing- 
desks, too old to pawn but too good to keep; guns, fishing- 
rods, musical instruments, all in the same condition; have 
first been sold, and the sacrifice has been but slightly felt. 
But, hunger n^ust be allayed, and what has already become a 
habit, is easily resorted to, when an emergency arises. Light 
articles of clothing, first of the ruined man, ^en of his wife, 
at last of their children, even of the youngest, have been 
• parted with, piecemeal. There they are, thrown carelessly 
together until a purchaser presents himself, old, and patched 
and repaired, it is true ; but the make and materials tell of 
better days ; and the older they are, the greater the misery 
and destitution of those whom they once adorned. 



I 



.V 



em-SHOFS. 169 



CHAPTER XXTT. 

OIH-SHOPS. 



It is a remarkable dicumstanoe, that different trades appear 
to partake of the disease to which elephants and dogs are 
especially liable, and to run stark, staring, raying mad, 
periodically. The gr eat distinction b^ ween ^ej^fiimalg and 
^e trades, is, tha t the ibrmer r un mad with a certain degree 
g propriety — ^th ey are very .rejgjjlay m/JPSdi^lirs^^alari^. 
We Know the penoST at which .tbfl. fi^Jierg^ncgLwin . arise^ and 
p roTiae aga insf it aopord lngly^ If an elephant run mad, we 
are aU ready for him — kill or cure — spills or bullets— <»lomel ' 
in conserve of roses, or lead in a musket-barrel. If a dog 
happen to look unpleasandy warm in the summer months, 
and to trot about the shady side of the streets with a quarter 
of a yard of tongue hanging out of his mouth, a thick leather 
muzzle, which has been previously prepared in compliance 
with the thoughtful injunctions of die Legislature, is instantly 
clapped over his head, by way of making him cooler, and he 
either looks remarkably unhappy for ^e next six weeks, or 
becomes legally insane, and goes mad, as it were, hy act of 
Parliament. But these trades are as eccentric as comets; 
nsff, worse, for no one can calculate on the recurrence of the 
strange appearances which betoken the disease. Moreover, 
the oontagion is general, and the quickness with which it 
difbses itself, almost incredible. 

We will cite two or three cases in illustration of our 
meaning. Six or eight years ago, the epidemic began to 
display itself among the linen-drapers and haberdashers. 
The primaiy symptoms were an inordinate love of plate-glass, 
and a passion for gas-lights and gilding. The disease gradu- 
ally progressed, and at last attained a fearful height. Quiet 
dusiy old shops in different parts of town, were pulled down ; 
spacious premises with stuccoed fix>nts and gold letters, were 
erected instead; floors were covered with Turkey carpets; 
roofs, supported by massive pillars; doors, knocked into 
windows; a dozen squares of glass into one; one shopman 
into a dozen ; and there is no knowing what would have been 



170 SKBTOBIB BT BOZ. 

done, if it had not been fortonatelj discovered, just in time, 
tkat the Commissioners of Bankrupt were as competent to 
decide such cases as the Commissioners of Lunacy, and that 
a little confinement and gentle exaoniiiatioii did wonders. The 
disease abated. It died away. A year or two of comparatiTe 
tranquilliiy ensued. Suddeiily ii burst out again among the 
chemists ; the symptoms were the same, with the addition of 
a strong desire to stick the royal arms over the shop-door, and 
a great rage for mahoga^, vamish, and expensLve fioar-doth. 
Then, the hosiers were infected, asnd began to puU down their 
shap-fronts witibi frantic recMeBsness; The mania again died 
away, and ihe pubHo b^;an to eongratulate l&emselvies on its 
entire disappearance, when it burst forth with ten-fold yioleace 
among the publicans, and Iceepen of " wine-Taults." From 
that n]:oment it has spread among* &em widt unprecedented 
rapi(£iy, exhibiting a concatenation of all the previous 
symptoms ; onward it has rushed to every part dt town, 
kaocidng down all the old pubHc-houses, and depositing 
spl6n£d mansions, stone balustrades, rosewood fittings, 
immense lamps, and illuminated docks, at lite comer of 
every street. 

Ilie extensive scale on which these places ore established^ 
and the ostentatious manner in which tbe business of evon 
the smallest among them is divided into branches, is amusing. 
A handsome plato of ground ghuss in one door Erects you 
"To tibie Counting-house; ** another to the "Bottle Depart- 
ment ; " a third to the " Wholesale Department ; " a fourth 
to "The Wine Promenade; " and so forth, until wo are in 
daily expectation of meeting with a " Brandy Bell," or a 
"Whiskey Entrance." Then, ingenuity is exhausted in 
devising attractive titles for the different desoriptzons of gin ; 
and the dram-drinking portion of the communi^ as they gaze 
upon the gigantic black and whito announcements, which are 
only to be equalled in size by the figures beneath them, are 
left in a stato of pleasing hesitation between "The Cream of 
the Valley," "The Out and Out," "The No Mistake," "The 
Good for Mixing," "The real Enock-me-down," "The cele- 
brated Butter Gin," "The regular Flare-up," and a dozen 
other equally inviting and wholesome liqueurs. Although 
places of this description are to be met wi^ in every second 
street, they are invariably numerous and splendid in precise 
proportion to the dirt and poverty of the surrounding neigh- 



Gnr-SBOPBL m 

boniiood. The gin-shops in aod near Dnxry-lane, Holboniy 
St. Qiles'ff^ Cofent-garden, and dare-ouiriraty axs the lumd^ 
someet in London. There is move of iUfch asiid sqnaJid miaeiy 
I16KF those great thozDngfa&ies than in anj part of this 
Twiggftrfy eiiy. 

We ifiil endeosroor to sieetch.iiie bar o£ a barge gxn*ifai{Fy 
and its offdmazy caBtomerBf for tiote edxfieaitHiB of smb. of oar' 
roadoCT as may not have had oppovtmadtlar of ohserving anch 
seeoeB ; and on Ihe chanoe of finding one weH suited to our 
ptapose, im -mil make fbr Dnxry-lmev i^broo^ Ihe nanow 
atoets Old dirfy ooarto Trhieh divida it from Oxibrd-siieatj 
and ihafe daaaical e^t adjoining^ Ihe bEswery at the bottom 
of Tottamliam-eomt-road, beat hoown in liie initiated as the 
" Kookerf." 

The filthy and miserable appeaenmee of this part* of London 
can hardly be imagined by thoae (aad there are many such) 
who haro not -witnessed it« Wzetohed houses wilh broken 
mudowa patched with rags and paper : erery soem let ont to 
a £ffezeDt fhmily, and in many instanees to two or eren three 
— fruit and "sweet-stafT'' marrafantorers in the oeUars, barbexB 
and red*hening yendexB in Ihe front parhnirsy oobbkis in ihe 
back ; a bird-fiuocier in the first floor^ three fhmilicii on Ihe 
seoond^ starvation in the attics, TrishTnen in the passage, a 
" musicxan " in the front kitchen, and a charwoman and five- 
hmsgiy children in the beck one— filth ereEywhere — a gutter 
before the houses, and a drain behind — clothes drytng and 
slops emptying, from the windows ; giiis of fourteen or fifreen 
wi^ matted hair, walking about barefoot, and in white great- 
coats, almost their only covering; boys of all agesy in coats of 
all auoes and no coats at all; men and women, in eveiy yariety 
of scanty and dirty apparel, lounging, scolding, drinking, 
smoking, sqoabblii^, fighting, and swearing. 

You turn the comer. What a change ! All is light and 
bzflliancy. The hum of many Toioes issues from that splendid 
gin-shop which forms the commencement of the two streets 
opposite; and the gay building with the feaitasticany oma- 
mented parapet, the iUnminated eloek, the plate-glaas windows 
surrounded by stucco rosettes, and its profusion of gas-lights 
in richly-gilt burners, is perfectly dazzling when contrasted 
with the darkness and dirt we haye just left. The interior ia 
eyen gayer than the exterior. A bar of French-polished 
mahogany, elegantly canred, extends the whole width of the 



172 SKBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

place ; and there are two side-aisles of great casks, painted 
green and gold, enclosed within a light brass rail, and bearing 
such inscriptions as " Old Tom, 549 ; " " Young Tom, 360 ; " 
'^ Samson, 1421'' — the figures agreeing, we presume, with 
'^ gallons," understood. Beyond the bar is a lofl^ and spadons 
saloon, full of the same enticing vessels, with a gallery running 
round it, equally well fiimishecL On the counter, in addition 
to the usual spirit apparatus, are two or three little baskets 
of cakes and biscuits, which are carefiilly secured at top with 
wicker-work, to prevent their contents being unlawfully ab- 
stracted. Behind it, are two showily-dressed damsels with 
large necklaces, dispensing the spirits and *' compounds." 
They are assisted by the ostensible proprietor of the oonoem, 
a stout coarse fellow in a fur cap, put on very much on one 
side to give him a knowing air, and to display his sandy 
whiskers to the best advantage. 

The two old washerwomen, who are seated on the litfle 
bench to the left of the bar, are rather overcome by the head- 
dresses and haughiy demeanour of the young ladies who 
officiate. They receive their half-quartern of gin and pepper- 
mint with considerable deference, prefacing a request for ''one 
of them soft biscuits," with a ** list be good enough, ma'am." 
They are quite astonished at the impudent air of the young 
fellow in a brown coat and bright buttons, who, ushering in 
his two companions, and walking up to lihe bar in as careless 
a manner as if he had been used to green and gold ornaments 
all his life, winks at one of the young ladies with singular 
coolness, and calls for a " kervorten and a three-out glass," 
just as if the place were his own. " Gin for you, sir ? " says 
the young lady when she has drawn it: carefdlly looking 
every way but the right one, to show that the wink had no 
effect upon her. " For me, Maiy, my dear," replies the 
gentleman in brown. " My name ain't Mary, as it happens," 
says the young girl, rather relaxing as she delivers the change. 
" Well, if it an't, it ought to be," responds the irresistible 
one; ''all the Maiys as ever I see, was handsome gals." 
Here the young lady, not predsely remembering how blushes 
are managed in such cases, abruptly ends the flirtation by 
addressing the female in tlie faded feathers who has just 
entered, and who, after stating explicitly, to prevent any 
subsequent misunderstanding, that "this gentleman piQ^," 
calls for " a glass of port wine and a bit of sugar." 



GIN-SHOPS. 178 

Thoae two old men who came in " jusfc to have a drain/' 
finiahed their third quartern a few seconds ago; they have 
made themselves ciying drunk; and the fat comfortable- 
looking elderly women, who had '^a glass of rum srub'' 
each, having chimed in with their complaints, on the hardness 
of the times, one of the women has agreed to stand a glass 
round, jocularly observing that "grief never mended no 
broken bones, and as good people 's wery scarce, what I says 
is, make the most on 'em, and that 's all about it ! " a senti- 
ment which appears to afford unlimited satisfaction to those 
who have nothing to pay. 

It is growing late, and the throng of men, women, and 
children, who have been constantly going in and out, dwindles 
down to two or three occasional stragglers — cold, wretched- 
looking creatures, in the last stage of emaciation and disease. 
The knot of Irish labourers at the lower end of the place, who 
have been alternately shaking hands with, and threatening 
the life of each other, for the last hour, become Virions in 
their disputes, and finding it impossible to silence one man, 
who is particularly anxious to adjust the difference, they resort 
to the expedient of knocking him down and jumping on him 
afterwards. The man in ^e fur-cap and the pot-boy rush 
out ; a scene of riot and confusion ensues ; half the Irishmen 
get shut out, and the other half get shut in ; tbe pot-boy is 
knocked among the tubs in no time ; the landlord hits every- 
body, and eveiybody ^ts the landlord ; the barmaids scream ; 
the police come in ; the rest is a con£ised mixture of arms, 
legs, staves, torn coats, shouting, and struggling. Some of 
the pariy are borne off to the station-house, and the remainder 
slink home to beat their wives for complaining, and kick the 
children for daring to be hungry. 

We have sketched this subject very slightly, not only because 
our limits compel us to do so, but because, if it were pursued 
further, it would be painful and repulsive. Well-disposed 
gentlemen, and charitable ladies, would alike turn with cold- 
ness and disgust from, a description of the drunken besotted 
men, and wretched broken-down miserable women, who form 
no inconsiderable portion of the f^uenters of these haunts ; 
forgetting, in the pleasant consciousness of their own rectitude, 
the poverty of the one, and the temptation of the other. Gin- 
drinking is a great vice in England, but wretchedness and dirt 
are a greater ; and until you improve the homes of the poor. 



174 SKBfCBS BT BOZ. 

xxr persuade a ImLMamidied leseiolL not ix) mek iMa£ in the 
.tempoBaEy obliyion of Ms own miaoiy, with the {nttaoioe idudL, 
diTidfid among his family, would fimufih a -maaui of braad 
for each, . gin-shops will ineirease in numiber and Bpkodovir. 
If Tempeinnoe SodatJes would Auggest an aaitiidote ^agwaaC; 
hunger, .£lth, end foul air, or oouH establish difl^eoDBainB £>r 
ihe gratuitous distribution of boiitLes of Leiiie^wateir, giE- 
palaees would be numhezed aouxigibe things that' 



OHAPTEE xnn. 

THE TAinCBBOKSBVl SBOF. 



Qf i^ numerous zoQep^adesibr misesy asd dssfcnss^wiftL 
whieh &Q streets of London unhappily alMHuid, HaaodrnxB, 
perhaps, jaone which pveaeDt Buah atdTdng maaum as -Ae 
pawnfarokezs' ahops. The ^veiy Aafnuo ami Amm\pii(m -"of 
these .plaiBBs ofacamsm their hdnig but little Jbianm, «Koept 
io the uQ&rtuaafte beiogs -wiuee prodigaoy or m i d i iiriwie 
r^driinaB ftkmBi to eeek dike tettpooBosy xelifff tliey aiffiac. Ike 
TBul^ect may appeaer, At .first sight, to be «B(7&ing imt -an. 
invitiag one, bvrii we Teainre on it i»ffi6rih€less,.iii Umb lupe 
that, as iar as the Jimits idf :eiir present paper aie iMnnmmicl, 
it will pseaent jaolhiog io dLiguat, ereBi ibe joHst jjinBdinnw 
jceadsr. 

These an aoooa piviQilnttlBBBB' ahofs af « wmj mpcKaor 
desorqitNBu There ase grades in paw&iag as in e t^ tyilaing 
else, and distinctions must he observe eren in poveotty. The 
juistoeMttio fipaniah eloak and the pkbeian 'cdiico Aatt, the 
ffilTar JsEdp, and the. jQat ixon, ihe mnsUn mmeA and ihe 
£dehar neckerchief would hut ill .Assort ttogether; «o, -Ihe 
hetter sort of pawnbrokor oalls hinself a aifa FB i a mUh , asid 
deoosates Jus shop with haaAwmf) .triniEets and fwipfairo 
jemQflsy, while tha maoe hmnble mcoiey Jfiadar bddlj ad- 
^rortiaes his calling, aadin^ritas obaermiion. It iB^niAL -pawa- 
brolcaBB' shops of the latter dam, that wb hare io «b. We 
hope seleeted one &ac .onr purpose, and will eaienmir to 
desorihe it. 

The pawnbroker's ahop. is «itaai»d near Bruiy^lanB, at the 



THB FAWNBftOdHl'S SHOP. 175 

caxner of a court, whicdi affiards a ttde entrastoe fiir the aooom- 
modatiozL of such cufitomars as nu^ be desiioafl of ovoidiog 
tke ofaBervation of the pftiwnwi-by, or the chaaee of recognitiGai 
izL aksB jyoblic street. It is a low, diTt74Qakizig, dusty shop, 
the door of which «taDds always doubtfiillj, a little way open : 
lialf iuvitmg, half repeHliBg the heaitatmg visiiiar, who, .if he 
he as,yet quinitiftted, exaauiaes one of the old .garnet brooches 
in the window for a minute or two with afSaoted eageaness, as 
i-P he oooatanplttted. •"nJriT^g ' a purohaBB.; and then looking 
omtioufily round to asoertain iiiat no aae watches him, hastily 
aUnks in; the door closing of itself after him, to just its 
fbrmor width. The shop j&ont and the window frames bear 
endent maxkB of having been onee pauxted^- but, wliat i^e 
colour was oidginaLly, or at what date.it was probably laid on, 
are at this remote period questiaDS whaeh may be asked, but 
oazinot be answered. IVadition^tatesthat the tmasparency in 
.the fcont door wiueh diflplajs at night ihzee jied balls on a 
bhae gsoond, anoe bare also, inaodbed in. gsaoeial woms, the 
wosfib " JkConey adTaneed on plate, jewek, wBODng appareH, 
juid €fwry description of pcoperfy," but A^iaw illegible hieiao- 
^l^hioB are all that now zfiiitain to attest the &ot The plate 
and jewels would seem ^ liaTe dis^^peexed, together with the 
announoemant, for the ariules of stook, which axe jdieplayed 
Jn aome jirofiisiaDL in the wmdow, do not iaclude any vei^ 
>¥akiablp> Joxuxies of either kzad. A few old china cups ; 
some modam yiwes, adorned with paltcy pamtb^ of three 
t%anish oovaliavsjdaying thzae Spanish guitais; or a party 
of boozB oaroasing : each hoot' with one leg pain&dly elOT[ated 
in the air, by way of expressing his perfoct freedom and 
.gaiety; aeveral sets of ilMi<Miiiep,.iwo or three fbites, a.frw 
■iiddlee, a soond-eyed portsait .«teiQg .in astonjehanaat from a 
Yvecy daxik .ground; some .gaudij^yrbioand prayar-books and 
testaments, two rows of silver Twstalhes gnite as chm»y and 
almost as lai^ as Eaigasan's' first; .nmneBOus old-frshioned 
table jmd tea i^oons, diq^yed, fra-like, Jn half-doeens; 
afcnngB 4xf ootal with great broad g^t snaps ; cards of xmgs 
.and broofihes, fastened and labelled ^BepacateLy, like, the insects 
in the British Museum; chaap ailver penholdeiB o&d snuff- 
boxas, with a masonic star, ^cooqpkte &e jewalleEy jdepartment; 
while five or tax. beds in aateory dended tiaka, steingB of 
Uankete and sheets, silk and cottoan Jiandkecddeb, and waar- 
ingifpparel of every desedption, fixrm the jnase nsefrO, though 



176 SEBTCHSS BT BOZ. 

even less ornamental^ part, of the articles exposed for sale. 
An eztensiye collection of planes, chisels, saws, and other car- 
penters' tools, which have been pledged, and never redeemed, 
form the foreground of the picture ; while the large frames 
full of ticketed bundles, which are dimly seen through the 
dirty casement up stairs — ^the squalid neighbourhood — ^the 
adjoining houses, straggling, shrunken, and rotten, with one or 
two filthy, unwholesome-looking heads, thrust out of eveiy 
window, and old red pans and stunted plants exposed on the 
tottering parapets, to the manifest hazard of the heads of the 
passers-by — ^the noisy men loitering under the archway at the 
comer of the court, or about the gin-shop next door — 
and their wives patiently standing on the curb-stone, with 
large baskets of cheap vegetables slung round them for sale, 
are its immediate auxiliaries. 

If the outside of the pawnbroker's shop, be calculated to 
attract the attention, or excite the interest, of the speculative 
pedestrian, its interior cannot fail to produce the same effect 
in an increased degree. The front door, which we have before 
noticed, opens into the common shop, which is the resort of 
all those customers whose habitual acquaintance with such 
scenes renders them indifferent to the observation of their 
companions in poverty. The side door opens into a small 
passage from which some half-dozen doors (which may be 
secured on the inside by bolts) open into a corresponding 
number of little dens, or closets, which face the coxmter. 
Here, the more timid or respectable portion of the crowd 
shroud themselves from the notice of the remainder, and 
patiently wait until the gentleman behind the counter, with 
the curly black hair, diamond ring, and double silver watch* 
guard shall feel disposed to favour them with his notice — a 
consummation which depends considerably on the temper of 
the aforesaid gentleman for the time being. 

At the present moment, this elegantly-attired individual is 
' in the act of entering the duplicate he has jtist made out, in tt 
thick book ; a process from which he is diverted occasionally^ 
by a conversation he is carrying on with another young man 
similarly employed at a little distance from him, whose allu- 
sions to "that last bottle of soda-water iast night," and "liow 
regidarly round my hat he felt hima^lf when the young 'ooman 
gave 'em in charge," would appear to refer to the conse- 
quences of some stolen joviality of the preceding evening. 



THB FAWNBROKBK'S SHOP. 177 

The custoi^ers generally, however, seem unable to partixdpate 
in the amusement deriyable from this source, for an old 
sallow-looking woman, who has been leaning with both arms 
on the counter with a small bimdle before her, for half an 
hour previoualj, suddenly interrupts the conversation by 
addressing the jewelled shopman — "Now, Mr. Henry, do 
make haste, there 's a good soul, for my two grandchildren's 
locked up at home, and I 'm afeer'd of the fire.'' The shop- 
man slightly raises his head, with an air of deep abstraction, 
and resumes his entry with as much deliberation as if he were 
engraving. ''You're in a huny, Mrs. Tatham, this ev'nin', 
an't you?" is the only notice he deigns to take, after the 
lapse of five minutes or so. '' Yes, I am indeed, Mr. Hemy ; 
now, do serve me next, there 's a good creetur. I wouldn't 
worry you, only it 's all along o' them botherin' children." 
" What have you got here ? " inquires the shopman, unpin- 
ning the bundle — " old concern, I suppose — ^pair o' stays and 
a petticut. You must look up somethin' else, old 'ooman ; I 
can't lend you anything more upon them, they 're completely 
worn out by this time, if it 's only by putting in, and taking 
out again, three times a week." "Oh! you're a rumun, 
you are," replies the old woman, laughing extremely, as in 
duty bound ; ** I wish I 'd got the gift g£ the gab like you ; 
see if I 'd be up the spout so often then ! No, no ; it an't 
the petticut ; it 's a child's irock and a beautiful silk-ankecher, 
as belongs to my husband. He gave four shiUin' for it, the 
worry same blessed day as he broke his arm." " What do 
you want upon these ? " inquires Mr. Henry, slightly glancing 
at the articles, which in all probabiliiy are old acquaintances. 
'* What do you want upon these ? " — " Eighteen-pence." — 
** Lend you ninepence." — *' Oh, make it a ahillin' ; there 's a 
dear — do now ! " — " Not another farden." — " Well, I suppose 
I must take it." The duplicate is made out, one ticket pinned 
on the parcel, the other given to the old woman ; the parcel 
is flung carelessly down into a comer, and some other 
customer prefers his daim to be served without further delay. 
The choice falls on an unshaven, dirty, sottish-looking fellow, 
whose tarnished paper-cap, stuck negligently over one eye, 
conmiTmicates an additionally repulsive expression to his very 
uninviting countenance. He was enjoying a little relaxation 
from, his sedentary pursuits a quarter of an hour ago, in 
Irj ^ lrin g his wife up the court. He has come to redeem some 



178 SEBTCHES BT BOZ. 

tools : — ^probably to complete a job with, on aocoimt of which 
he has already received some money, if his inflamed counten- 
ance and drunken stagger, may be taken as evidence of the 
fact. Having waited some little time, he makes his presence 
known by venting his ill-humour on a ragged urchin, who, 
being unable to bring his face on a level with the counter by 
any other process, has employed himself in climbing up, and 
then hooking himself on with his elbows — an imeasy perch, 
from which he has fallen at intervals, generally alighting on the 
toes of the person in his immediate viciniiy. In the present 
case, the unfortunate little wretch has received a cuff which 
sends him reeling to the door ; and the donor of the blow is 
immediately the object of general indignation. 

" What do you strike the boy for, you brute ? " exclaims a 
slip-shod woman, with two flat irons in a little basket " Do 
you think he's your wife, you willin?" — "Go and hang 
yourself! " replies the gentleman addressed, with a drunken 
look of savage stupidity, aiming at the same time a blow at 
the woman which fortunately misses its object. "Go and 
hang yourself; and wait till I come and cut you down."— *• 
"Cut you down," rejoins the woman, "I wish I had the 
cutting of you up, you wagabond 1 (loud.) Oh ! you precious 
wagabond ! (rather louder.) Where 's your wife, you willin ? 
(louder stiU ; women of this class are always sympathetic, and 
work themselves into a tremendous passion on the shortest 
notice.) Your poor dear wife as you uses worser nor a dog — 
strike a woman — you a man ! (very shrill ;) I wish I had you 
— I 'd murder you, I would, if I died for it ! " — " Now be 
civil," retorts the man fiercely. "Be civil, you wiper!" 
ejaculates the woman contemptuously, " An*t it shocking ? " 
i^e continues, turning round, and appealing to an old woman 
who is peeping out of one of the little closets we have before 
described, and who has not the slightest objection to join in 
the attack, possessing, as she does, the comfortable conviction 
that she is bolted in, " An't it shocking, ma'am ? (Dreadful! 
says the old woman in a parenthesis, not exactly knowing what 
the question refers to.) He 's got a wife, ma'am, as takes in 
mangling, and is as 'dustrious and hard-working a young 
'ooman as can be, (very fast) as lives in the back-parlour of 
our 'ous, which my husband and me lives in the front one 
(with great rapidity) — and we hears him a beaten' on her 
sometimes when he comes home drunk, the whole night 



THE PAWNBROKER'S SHOP. 179 

through, oad not only a beaten' her, but beaten' bis own 
child too, to make her more miserable — ^ugh, you beast ! 
and she, 'poor creater, won't swear the peace agin him, nor 
do nothin', because she likes the wretch arter all — worse 
luck ! " Here as the woman has completely run herself out 
of breath, the pawnbroker himself, who has just appeared 
behind the counter in a gray dressing-gown, embraces the 
favourable opportuni^ of putting in a word : — ** Now I won't 
have none of this sort of thing on my premises ! " he inter- 
poses with an air of authority. " Mrs. Mackin, keep yourself 
to yourself, or you don't get fourpence for a flat iron here; 
and Jinkins, you leave your ticket here tiU you 're sober, and 
send your wife, for them two planes, for I won't have you in 
my shop at no price ; so make yourself scarce, before I make 
you scarcer." 

This eloquent address produces any thing but the effect 
desired ; the women rail in concert ; the man hits about him 
in all directions, and is in the act of establishing an indis- 
putable daim to gratuitous lodgings for the night, when the 
entrance of his wife, a wretched worn-out woman, apparently 
in the last stage of consumption, whose face bears evident 
marks of recent iU-usage, and whose strength seems hardly 
equal to the burden — flight enough God knows !— of the thin 
sickly child she carries in her arms, turns his cowardly rage 
in a safer direction. *' Come home, dear," cries the miserable 
creature, in an imploring tone ; " do come home, there 's a 
good fellow, and go to bed." — " Go home yourself," rejoins 
the furious ruffian. " Do come home quietly," repeats the 
wife, bursting into tears. " Go home yourself," retorts the 
husband again, enforcing his argument by a blow which sends 
the poor creature flying out of the shop. Her ** natural pro- 
tector " follows her up the court, alternately venting his rage 
in accelerating her progress, and in knocking the Httle scanty 
blue bonnet of the unfortunate child over its still more scanfy 
and faded'looking face. 

In the last box, which is situated in the darkest and most 
obscure comer of the shop, considerably removed jfrom either 
of the gas-lights, are a young dehcate girl of about twenly, 
and an elderly female, evidenfly her mother from the resem- 
blance between them, who stand at some distance back, as if 
to avoid the observation even of the shopman. It is not their 
flrst visit to a pawnbroker's shop, for they answer without a 

m2 



ISO SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

moment's hesitation the nsoal questions, put in a rather 
respectM manner, and in a much lower tone than usual, of 
" What name shall I say ? — ^Your own property, of course ? — 
Where do you live? — Housekeeper or lodger?" Th^ 
bargain, too, for a higher loan than the shopman is at first 
inclined to offer, which a perfect stranger would be little dis- 
posed to do ; and the elder female ui^;es her daughter on, in 
ccaroely audible whispers, to exert her utmost powers of per- 
suasion to obtain an advanoe of the sum, and expatiate on the 
value of the articles th^ have brought to raise a present 
supply upon. They are a small gold chain and a " Forget me 
not " ring : the girFs property, for they are both too small 
for the mother ; given her in better times ; prized, perhaps, 
once, for the giver's sake, but parted with now without a 
struggle ; for want has hardened the mother, and her example 
has hardened the girl, and the prospect of receiving money, 
coupled with a recollection of the misezy they have both 
endured from the want of it — ^the coldness of old Mends — ^the 
stem refusal of some, and the still more galling compassion 
of others — appears to have oblit^ated the consciousness of 
self-humiliation, which the idea of their present situation 
would once have aroused. 

In the next box, is a young female, whose attire, miserably 
poor, but extremely gaudy, wretchedly cold, but extravagantly 
fine, too plainly bespeaks her station. The rich satin gown 
with its faded trimmings, the worn-out thin shoes, and pink 
silk stockings, the summer bonnet in winter, and the sunken 
fSetce, where a daub of rouge only serves as an index to the 
ravages of squandered health never to be regained, and loet 
happiness never to be restored, and where the practised smile 
is a wretched mockery of the misery of the heart, cannot be 
mistaken. There is something in the glimpse she has just 
caught of her young neighbour, and in the sight of the little 
tnnkets she has offered in pawn, that seems to have awakened 
in this woman's mind some slumbering recollection, and to 
have changed, for an instant, her whole demeanour. Her 
first hasty impulse was to bend forward as if to scan more 
minutely the appearance of her half-concealed companions; 
her next on seeing them involimtarily shrink from her, to 
retreat to the back of the box, cover her face with her hands, 
and burst into tears. 

There are strange chords in the human heart, which will 



CRIMINAL COURTS. 181 

lie dormant tihrougli years of depravity and wiokedness, but 
which will vibrate at last to some slight droumBtaoce appa- 
rently trivial in itself but oonnected by some undefined and 
indistinct association, with past days that can never be 
recalled, and with bitter recollections from which the most 
degraded creature in existence cannot escape. 

There has been another spectator, in the person of a woman 
in the common shop ; the lowest of the low ; dirty, unbonneted, 
flaunting, and slovenly. Her curiosity was at first attracted 
by the little she could see of the group ; then her attention. 
Ilie half intoxicated leer changed to an expression of some- 
thing like interest, and a feeling similar to that we have 
described, appeared for a moment, and only a moment, to 
extend itself even to her bosom. 

Who shaU say how soon these women may change places ? 
The last has but two more stages — ^the hospital and the grave. 
How many females situated as her two companions are, and as 
she may have been once, have terminated the same wretched 
course, in the same wretched manner. One is already tracing 
her footsteps with Mghtful rapidity. How soon may the 
other follow her example ! How many have done the same ! 



CHAPTER XXrV. 

CRIMIKAL OOUETB. 



Wb shall never forget the mingled feelings of awe and 
respect with which we used to gaze on the exterior of New- 
gate in our sdioolboy days. How dreadful its rough heavy 
walls, and low massive doors, appeared to us — ^the latter 
looking as if they were made for the express purpose of letting 
people in, and never letting them out again. Then the fetters 
over the debtors' door, which we used to think were a bond 
fide set of irons, just hung up there for convenience sake, ready 
to be taken down at a moment's notice, and riveted on the 
limbs of some refractory felon! We were never tired of 
wondering how the hackney-coachmen on the opposite stand 
could cut jokes in the presence of such horrors, and drink pots 
of half-and-half so near the last drop. 



182 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

Often have we strayed here, in sessions time, to catch a 
glimpse of the whipping-place, and that dark building on one 
side of the yard, in which is kept the gibbet with all its 
dreadfnl apparatus, and on the door of which we half expected 
to see a brass plate, with the inscription " Mr. Ketch ; " for 
we never imagined that the distinguished fonctionary could 
by possibility live anywhere else ! The days of these childish 
dreams have passed away, and with them many other boyish 
ideas of a gayer nature. But we still retain so much of our 
original feeling, that to this hour we never pass the building 
without something like a shudder. 

What London pedestrian is there who has not, at some time 
or other, cast a hurried glance through the wicket at which 
prisoners are admitted into this gloomy mansion, and siuVeyed 
the few objects he could discern, with an indescribable feeling 
of curiosity ? The thick door, plated with iron and mounted 
with spikes, just low enough to enable you to see, leaning over 
them, an ill-looking fellow, in a broad-brimmed hat, belcher 
handkerchief and top-boots: with a brown coat, something 
between a great-coat and a " sporting " jacket, on his back, 
and an immense key in his left hand. Perhaps you are lucky 
enough to pass, just as the gate is being opened ; then, you 
see on the other side of the lodge, another gate, the image of 
its predecessor, and two or three more turnkeys, who look like 
multiplications of the first one, seated round a fire which just 
lights up the whitewashed apartment suflS.ciently to enable you 
to catch a hasty glimpse of these different objects. We have 
a great respect for Mrs. Fiy, but she certainly ought to have 
written more romances than Mrs. Radcliffe. 

We were walking leisurely down the Old Bailey, some time 
ago, when, as we passed this identical gate, it was opened by 
the officiating turnkey. We turned quickly round, as a 
matter of course, and saw two persons descending the steps. 
We could not help stopping and observing them. 

They were an elderly woman of decent appearance, though 
evidently poor, and a boy of about fourteen or fifteen. lie 
woman was crying bitterly ; she carried a small bundle in her 
hand, and the boy followed at a short distance behind her. 
Their little history was obvious. The boy was her son, to 
whose early comfort she had perhaps sacrificed her own — ^for 
whose sake she had borne misery without repining, and 
poverty without a murmur — ^looking steadily forward to the 



dUMINAL COURTS. 188 

timey when lie who had bo long witnessed her struggles for 
himseify might be enabled to make some exertions for their 
joint support. He had formed dissolute connexions ; idleness 
had led to crime; and he had been committed to take his 
trial for some petty theft. He had been long in prison, 
imdy after receiving some trifling additional punishment, had 
been ordered to be discharged that morning. ^ It was his 
first offence, and his poor old mother, still hoping to reclaim 
him, had been waiting at the gate to implore him to return 
home. * 

We cannot forget the boy ; he descended the steps with a 
dogged look, shaking his head with an air of bravado and 
obstinate determination. They walked a few paces, and 
paused. The woman put her hand upon his shoulder in an 
agony of entreaty, and the boy sullenly raised his head as if 
in refusal. It was a brilliant morning, and every object 
looked freak and happy in the broad, gay sun-light ; he gazed 
round him for a few moments, bewildered with the brightness 
of the scene, for it was long since he had beheld anything 
save the gloomy walls of a prison. Perhaps the wretchedness 
of his mother made some impression on the boy's heart; 
perhaps some undefined recollection of the time when he was 
a happy child, and she his only Mend, and best companion^ 
crowded on him — ^he burst into tears ; and covering his face 
with one hand, and hurriedly placing the other in his mother's, 
walked away with her. 

Curiosity has occasionally led us into both Courts at the 
Old Bailey. Nothing is so likely to strike the person who 
enters them for the first time, as the calm indifference with 
which the proceedings are conducted; every trial seems a 
mere matter of business. There is a great deal of form, but 
no compassion ; considerable interest, but no sympathy. Take 
the Old Court for example. There sit the Judges, with whose 
great dignity every body is acquainted, and of whom there- 
fore we need say no more. Then, there is the Lord Mayor in 
the centre, looking as cool as a Lord Mayor can look, with an 
immense bouquet before him, and habited in all the splendour 
of his office. Then, there are the Sheriffs, who are almost as 
dignified as the Lord Mayor himself; and the Barristers, who 
are qidte dignified enough in their own opinion; and the 
spectators, who having paid for their admission, look upon 
the whole scene as if it were got up especially for their 



184 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

amusement. Look upon the vhole group in the body of the 
Court — ^some wholly engrossed in the morning papers, others 
carelessly conversing in low whispers, and others, again, quietly 
dozing away an hour — and you can scarcely believe that the 
result of the trial is a matter of life or death to one wretched 
being present. But turn your eyes to the dock ; watch the 
prisoner attentively for a few moments ; and the fSact is before 
you, in all its painful reality. Mark how restlessly he has 
been engaged for the last ten minutes, in forming all sorts of 
fantastic %ures with the herbs which are strewed upon the 
ledge before him ; observe the aahy paleness of his face when 
a particular witness appears, and how he changes his position 
and wipes his clammy forehead, and feverish hands, when the 
case for the |)rosecution is dosed, as if it were a relief to him 
to feel that ttie juiy knew the worst. 

The defence is concluded; the judge proceeds to sum up 
the evidence ; and the prisoner watches the countenances ol 
the juiy, as a dying man, dinging to life to the very last, 
vainly looks in ike face of his physician for a slight ray of 
hope. They turn round to consult ; you can almost hear the 
man's heart beat, as he bites the stalk of rosemary, with a 
desperate effort to appear composed. They resume their 
places — a dead silence prevails as the foreman delivers in the 
verdict — " Ghiilty ! " A shriek bursts from a female in the 
gallery; the prisoner casts one look at the quarter from 
whence the noise proceeded ; and is immediately hurried from 
the dock by the gaoler. The derk directs one of the officers 
of the court to " take the woman out," and fresh business is 
proceeded with, as if nothing had occurred. 

No imaginaiy contrast to a case like this, could be as com- 
plete as that which is constantly presented in the New Court, 
the gravity of which is frequently disturbed in no small 
degree, by the cunning and pertinadty of juvenile offenders. 
A boy of thirteen is tried, say for piddng tiie pocket of some 
subject of her Majesty, and the offence is about as dearly 
proved as an offence can be. He is called upon for his de- 
fence, and contents himself with a little declamation about the 
jurymen and his country — asserts that all the witnesses have 
committed peijuiy, and hints that the police force generally, 
have entered into a conspiracy " again ** him. However pro- 
bable this statement may be, it fails to convince the Court, 
and some sudi scene aa the following then takes place : 



CRIMINAL OOUETS. 185 

Court: Have you any witnesses to speak to your character, 
boy? 

Bay : Yes, my Lord ; fifteen gen'hn'n is a yaten outside, 
and Tos a vaten all day yesterday, yick they told me the night 
afore my trial yos a oomia' on. 

Court : Inquire for these witnesses. 

Here, a stout beadle runs out, and vociferates for the 
witnesses at the vexy top of his voice ; for you hear his cry 
grow fisdnter and fainter as he descends the steps into ^the 
court-yard below. After an absence of five minutes, he 
retoms, veiy warm and hoarse, and informs the Court of what 
it knew perfectly well before — ^namely, that there are no such 
witnesses in attendance. Hereupon the boy sets up a most 
awful howling; screws the lower part of the palms of his 
hands into the comers of his eyes ; and endeavours to look 
the picture of injured innocence. The jury at once find him 
"guilfy," and his endeavours to squeeze out a tear or two 
are redoubled. The governor of the gaol then states, in reply 
to an inquiry from the bench, that the prisoner has been 
under his care twice before. This the urchin resolutely denies 
in some such terms as — '' S'elp me, gen'hn'n, I never vos in 
trouble afore — indeed, my Lord, I never vos. It's all a 
howen to my having a twin brother, vich has wrongfully got 
into trouble, and vich is so exactly like me, that no vtm ever 
knows the difference atween us." 

This representation, like the defence, £euIs in producing the 
desired effect, aad the boy is sentenced, perhaps, to seven years' 
transportation. Finding it impossible to excite compassion, 
he gives vent co his feelings in an imprecation bearing 
reference to che eyes of '* old big vig ! " and as he declines to 
take the trouble of walking from the dock, is forthwith carried 
out, opugratulating himself on havrog suooeeded in giving 
evei^body as much trouble as possible. 



186 SKBTCHBS B7 BOZ. 



CHAPTER XXV. 



A VISIT TO NEWQATK. 



"The force of habit" is a trite phrase in every body's 
mouth ; and it is not a little remarkable that those who use 
it most as applied to others, unoonscionsly afford in their own 
persons singxdar examples of the power which habit and custom 
exercise over the minds of men, and of the little reflection they 
are apt to bestow on subjects with which every day's expe- 
rience has rendered them familiar. If Bedlam could be 
suddenly removed Uke another Aladdin's palace, and set down 
on the space now occupied by Newgate, scarcely one man out 
of a hundred, whose road to business every morning lies 
through Newgate-street, or the Old Bailey, would pass the 
building without bestowing a biasty glance on its small, grated 
windows, and a transient thought upon the condition of the 
unhappy beings immured in its dismal cells ; and yet these 
same men, day by day, and hour by hour, pass and repass 
this gloomy depository of the guilt and misery of London, in 
one perpetual stream of life and bustle, utterly immindful of 
the throng of wretched creatures pent up within it — ^nay, not 
even knowing, or if they do, not heeding, the fact, that as 
they pass one particular angle of the massive wall with a 
light laugh or a merry whistle, they stand within one yard of 
a fellow-creature, bound and helpless, whose hours are num< 
bered, from whom the last feeble ray of hope has fled for ever, 
and whose miserable career will shortly terminate in a violent 
and shameful death. Contact with death even in its least 
terrible shape, is solemn and appalling. How much more 
awful is it to reflect on this near vicinity to the dying — ^to 
men in full health and vigour, in the flower of youtii or the 
prime of life, with all their faculties and perceptions as acute 
and perfect as your own ; but dying, nevertheless — dying as 
surely — with the hand of death imprinted upon them as 
indelibly — as if mortal disease had wasted their frames to 
shadows, and corruption had already begun ! 

It was with some such thoughts as these that we determined, 
not many weeks since, to visit the interior of Newgate — ^in an 



A VISIT TO NEWQATE. 187 

amateur capacity, of course ; and, having carried our intention 
into effect, we proceed to lay its results before our readers, in 
the hope — founded more upon the nature of the subject, than 
on any presumptuous confidence in our own descriptive powers 
— ^that this paper may not be found whoUy devoid of interest. 
We have only to premise, that we do not intend to fatigue the 
reader with any statistical accounts of the prison ; they will be 
found at length in numerous reports of numerous committees, 
and a variety of authorities of equal weight. We took no 
notes, made no memoranda, measured none of the yards, 
ascertained the exact number of inches in no particular room : 
are imable even to report of how many apartments the gaol is 
composed. 

We saw the prison, and saw the prisoners ; and what we 
did see, and what we thought, we will tell at once in our own 
way. 

Having delivered our credentials to the servant who 
answered our knock at the door of the governor's house, we 
were ushered into the " office ; " a little room, on the right- 
hand side as you enter, with two windows looking into the 
Old Bailey : fitted up like an ordinary attorney's office, or 
merchant's counting-house, with the usual fixtures — ^a wains- 
coted partition, a shelf or two, a desk, a couple of stools, a pair 
of clerks, an almanack, a dock, and a few maps. Afber a 
little delay, occasioned by sending into the interior of the 
prison for the officer whose duty it was to conduct us, that 
functionary arrived ; a respectable-looking man of about two 
or three and fifty, in a broad-brimmed hat, and full suit of 
black, who, but for his keys, would have looked quite as 
much like a clergyman as a turnkey. We were disappointed ; 
he had not even top-boots on. Following our conductor by a 
door opposite to that at which we had entered, we arrived at 
a small room, without any other furniture than a little desk, 
with a book for visitors' autographs, and a shelf, on which 
were a few boxes for papers, and casts of the heads and faces 
of the two notorious murderers, Bishop and Williams; the 
former, in particular, exhibiting a style of head and set of 
features, which might have afforded sufficient moral grounds 
for his instant execution at any time, even had there been no 
other evidence against him. Leaving this room also, by an 
opposite door, we found ourself in the' lodge which opens on 
the Old Bailey; one side of which is plentifully garnished 



188 80TGHES B7 BOZ. 

with a choice coEection of heavy sets of irons, including those 
worn by the redoubtable Jack Sheppard — ^genuine ; and those 
said to have been graced by the sturdy limbs of the no less 
celebrated Dick Turpin — doubtful. From this lodge, a heavy 
oaken gate, bound with iron, studded with naOs of the same 
materitd, and guarded by another turnkey, opens on a few 
steps, if we remember right, which terminate in a narrow and 
dismal stone passage, running paralleL with the Old Bailey, 
and leading to the different yards, through a number of 
tortuous and intricate windings, guarded in their turn by 
huge gates and gratings, whose appearance is sufficient to 
dispel at once the slightest hope of escape that any new comer 
may have entertained ; and the very recollection of which, on 
eventually traversing the place again, involves one in a ma^ 
of confusion. 

It is necessary to explain here, that the buildings in the 
prison, or in other words the different wards — ^form a square, 
of which the four sides abut respectively on the Old Bailey, 
the old College of Physicians (now forming a part of Newgate- 
market), the Sessions-house, and Newgate-street. The inter- 
mediate space is divided into several paved yards, in which 
the prisoners take such air and exercise as can be had in 
such a place. These yards, with the exception of that in 
which prisoners under sentence of death are confined (of which 
we shall presently give a more detailed description), run 
parallel with Newgate-street, and consequently from the Old 
Bailey, as it were, to Newgate-market. The women's side is 
in' the right wing of the prison nearest the Sessions-house. 
As we were introduced into this part of the building first, 
we will adopt the same order, and introduce our readers to it 
also. 

Turning to the right, then, down the passage to which we 
just now adverted, omitting any mention of intervening gates 
— ^for if we noticed every gate that was imlocked for us to 
pass through, and locked again as soon as we had passed, we 
should require a gate at every comma — we came to a door 
composed of thick bars of wood, through which were discern- 
ible, passing to and fro in a narrow yard, some twenty women: 
the majority of whom, however, as soon as they were aware 
of the presence of strangers, retreated to their wards. One 
side of this yard is railed off at a considerable distance, and 
formed into a kind of iron cage, about five feet ten iuchea in 



A VISIT TO NBWGATB. 189 

height, roofed at the top, and defended in front hy iron bars, 
from which the friends of the female prisoners oommxmicate 
with them. In one comer of this singular-looking den, was a 
yellow, haggard, decrepit old woman in a tattered gown that 
had once been black, and the remains of an old straw bonnet^ 
with faded ribbon of the same hue, in earnest conversation 
with a yomig girl — a prisoner, of course— of about two-and- 
twenty. It is impossible to imagine a more poverty-stricken 
object, or a creature so borne down ia soul and body, by 
excess of misery and destitution as the old woman. The girl 
was a good-looking robust female, with a profrision of hair 
streaming about in the wind — ^for she had no bonuet on — and 
a man's silk pocket-handkerchief loosely thrown over a most 
ample pair of shoulders. The old woman was talking in that 
low, stifled tone of voice which tells so forcibly of mental 
angnish ; and every now and then burst into an irrepressible 
sharp, abrupt cry of grief, the most distressing sound that 
ears can heax. The girl was perfectly unmoved. Hardened 
beyond all hope of redemption, she listened doggedly to her 
mother's entreaties, whatever they were : and, beyond enquir- 
ing after '' Jem," and eagerly catching at the few halfpence 
her miserable parent had brought her, took no more apparent 
interest in the conversation than the most unconcerned 
spectators. Heaven knows there were enough of them, in the 
persons of the other prisoners in the yard^ who were no more 
concerned by what was passing before their eyes, and within 
their hearing, than if they were blind and deaf. Why should 
they be ? Inside the prison, and out, such scenes were too 
£uniliar to them, to excite even a passing thought, unless of 
ridicule or contempt for feelings which they had long sinoe 



A Httle farther on, a squalid-looking woman in a slovenly 
thick-bordered cap, with her arms muffled in a large red 
shawl, the fringed ends of which straggled nearly to the 
bottom of a dirty white apron, was communicatmg some 
instructions to her visitor — ^her daughter evidentiy. The girl 
was thinly dad, and shaking with the cold. Some ordinary 
word of recognition passed between her and her mother when 
she appeared at the grating, but neither hope, condolence, 
regret, nor affection was expressed on either side. The 
mother whispered her instructions, and the girl received them 
with her pxnched-up^ half-starved features twisted into an 



190 BESTCHES B7 BOZ. 

expression of careful cimning. It was some scheme for tlid 
woman's defence that she was disclosing, perhaps; and a 
sullen smile ccime oyer the girl's face for an instant, as if she 
were pleaaed.: not so much at the probability of her mother'a 
liberation, as at the chance of her " getting off " in spite of 
her prosecutors. The dialogue was soon concluded; and 
with the same careless indifference with which thej had 
approached each other, the mother turned towards the inner 
end of the yard, and the girl to the gate at which she had 
entered. 

The girl belonged to a class — ^unhappily but too extensive 
— the very existence of which, should make men's hearts 
bleed. Barely past her childhood, it required but a glance to 
discover that she was one of those children, bom and bred Ib 
neglect and vice, who have never known what childhood is : 
who have never been taught to love and court a parent's 
smile, or to dread a parent's frown. The thousand nameless 
endearments of childhood, its gaiety and its innocence, are 
alike unknown to them. They have entered at once upon the 
stem realities and miseries of life, and to their better nature 
it is almost hopeless to appeal in afbertimes, by any of the 
references which will awaken, if it be only for a moment, 
some good feeling in ordinary bosoms, however corrupt they 
may have become. Talk to them of parental solicitude, the 
happy days of childhood, and the meny games of infancy ! 
Tell them of hunger and the streets, beggary and stripes, the 
gin-shop, the station-house, and the pawnbroker's, and they 
will understand you. 

Two or three women were standing at different parts of the 
grating, conversing with their friends, but a very large pro- 
portion of the prisoners appeared to have no friends at all, 
beyond such of their old companions as might happen to be 
within the walls. So, passing hastily down the yard, and 
pausing only for an instant to notice the little incidents we 
have just recorded, we were conducted up a clean and well- 
lighted flight of stone stairs to one of the wards. There are 
several in this part of the building, but a description of one is 
a description of the whole. 

It was a spacious, bare, whitewashed apartment, lighted of 
course, by windows looking into the interior of the prison, 
but far more light and airy than one could reasonably expect 
to find in such a situation. There was a large fire witib. n 



A VISIT TO NEWGATB. 191 

deal table before it, round which ten or a dozen women were 
seated on wooden forms at dinner. Along both sides of the 
room ran a shelf; below it, at regular intervals, a row of 
large hooks were fixed in the wall, on each of which was hung 
the sleeping-mat of a prisoner : her rug and blanket being 
folded up, and placed on the shelf above. At night, these 
mats ore placed on the floor, eaxh beneath the hook on which 
it hangs during the day ; and the ward is thus made to answer 
the purposes both of a day-room and sleeping apartment. 
Over the fiire-place, was a large sheet of pasteboard, on which 
were displayed a variety of texts from Scripture, which were' 
also scattered about the room in scraps about the size and 
shape of the copy-slips which are used in schools. On the 
table was a sufficient provision of a kind of stewed beef and 
brown bread, in pewter dishes, which are kept perfectly 
bright, and displayed on shelves in great order and regularity 
when they are not in use. 

The women rose hastily, on our entrance, and retired in a 
hurried manner to either side of the fireplace. They were aU 
cleanly — ^many of them decently — attired, and there was 
nothing peculiar, either in their appearance or demeanour. 
One or two resumed the needlework which they had probably 
laid aside at the commencement of their meal ; others gazed 
at the visitors with listless curiosity ; and a few retired behind 
their companions to the veiy end of the room, as if desirous 
to avoid even the casual observation of the strangers. Some 
old Irish women, both in this and other wards, to whom the 
thing was no novelty, appeared perfectly indifferent to our 
presence, and remained standing dose to tiie seats £cx)m which 
they had just risen; but the general feeling among the 
females seemed to be one of uneasiness during the period of 
our stay among them; which was very brief. Not a word 
was uttered during the time of our remaining, unless, indeed, 
by the wardswoman in reply to some question which we put 
to the turnkey who accompanied us. In every ward on the 
female side, a wardswoman is appointed to preserve order, and 
a similar regulation is adopted among the males. The wards- 
men and wardswomen are all prisoners, selected for good 
conduct. They alone are allowed the privilege of sleeping on 
bedsteads ; a small stump bedstead being placed in every ward 
for that purpose. On both sides of the gaol, is a small 
receiving-room, to which prisoners are conducted on their first 



192 SKBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

reception, and whence thej cannot be removed untQ thej have 
been examined by the surgeon of the prison.* 

Ketracing our steps to the dismal passage in which we 
found ourselyes at first (and which, by the by, contains three 
or four dark cells for the accommodation of re&actozy 
prisoners), we were led through a narrow yard to the 
''school" — a portion of the prison set apart for boys under 
fourteen years of age. In a tolarable-sized room, in which 
were writing-materials and some copy-books, was Ihe school- 
master, with a couple of his pupils; the remainder having 
been fetched from an adjoining apartment, the whole were 
drawn up in line for our inspection. There were fourteen of 
them in all, some with shoes, some without ; some in pinafores 
without jadLets, others in jackets without pinafores, and one 
in scarce anything at all. The whole number, without an 
exception we belieye, had been committed for trial on charges 
of pocket-picking ; and fourteen such terrible little faces we 
never beheld* — ^There waa not one redeeming feature among 
them — not a glance of honesty — not a wink expressive of any- 
thing but the gallows and the hulks, in the whole collectioa. 
As to anything like shame or contrition, that was entirely out 
of the question. They were evidently quite gratified at being 
thought worth the trouble of looking at ; their idea appeared 
to be, that we had come to see Newgate as a grand a&ir, and 
that they were an indispensable part <^ the show ; and eveiy 
boy as he " fell in '' to the line, actually seemed as pleased 
and important as if he had done something excessively meri- 
torious in getting there at alL We never looked upon a more 
disagreeable sight, because we never saw fourteen such 
hopeless creatures of neglect, before. 

On either side of the school-yard is a yard for men, in one 
of which — ^that towards Newgate-street — ^prisoners of the 
more respectable class are confined. Of the other, we have 
little description to offer, as the different wards necessarily 
partake of the same character. They are provided, like the 
wards on the women's side, with mats and rugs, which are 
disposed of in the same manner during «the day; the only 
very striking difference between their appearance and that 

* The regalatiozM of the priaon relative to the confinemeiit of prisoneiB 
during the day, their sleeping at night, their taking their meals, and other 
matters of gaol economy, have been all altered — ^greatly for the better — tfinoe 
this sketch was first published. 



A VISIT TO KEWGATB. 198 

of the wards inliabited by the females, is the uttei absenoe of 
any employment. Huddled together on two opposite forms, 
by the fireside, sit tweniy men perhaps ; here, a boy in livezy ; 
there, a man in a rough great-coat and top-boots ; farther on, 
a desperate-looking fellow in his shirt sleeves, with an old 
Scotch cap upon his shaggy head; near him again, a tall 
rufian, in a smock-frock ; next to him, a miserable being of 
distressed appearance, with his head resting on his hand ; — 
all alike in one respect, all idle and listless. When they do 
leave the fire, sauntering moodily about, lounging in the 
window, or leaning against the wall, vacantly swinging their 
bodies to and fro. With the exception of a man reading an 
old newspaper, in two or three instances, this was the case in 
every ward we entered. 

The only communication these men have with their friends, 
is through two dose iron gratings, with an intermediate space 
of about a yard in width between the two, so that nothing can 
be handed across, nor can the prisoner have any communi- 
cation by touch with the person who visits him. The married 
men have a separate grating, at which to see their wives, but 
its construction is the same. 

The prison chapel is situated at the back of the governor's 
house : the latter having no windows looking into the interior 
of the prison. Whether the associations connected with the 
place — ^the knowledge that here a portion of the burial service 
is, on some dreadful occasions, performed over the quick and 
not upon the dead — cast over it a stiU more gloomy and 
sombre air than art has imparted to it, we know not, but its 
appearance is very striking. There is something in a silent 
and deserted place of worship, solemn and impressive at any 
time ; and the very dissimilarity of this one from any we have 
been accustomed to, only enhances the impression. The 
meanness of its appointments — ^the bare and scaniy pulpit, 
with thd paltry painted pillars on either side— the women's 
gaUery with its great heavy curtain — the men's with its 
unpainted benches and dingy frx>nt — ^the tottering little table 
at the altar, with the commandments on the wall above it, 
scarcely legible through lack of paint, and dust and damp- 
so unlike the velvet and gilding, the marble and wood, of a 
modem church^ — are strange and striking. There is one 
object, too, which rivets the attention and fascinates Hie gaze, 
and frrom which we may turn horror-stricken in vain, fer the 



194 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

reooUection of it will haunt ub, waking and sleeping, for a 
long time afterwards. Immediately below the reading-desk, 
on the floor of the chapel, and forming the most oonspicnoos 
object in its little area, is ^ condemnsd pew ; a huge black 
pen, in which the wretched people, who are singled out for 
death, are plaoed, on the Simday preceding their execution, in 
sight of all their fellow-prisoners, from many of whom they 
may have been separated but a week before, to hear prayers 
for their own souls, to join in the responses of their own 
burial service, and to listen to an address, warning their 
recent companions to take example by their fEite, and urging 
themselyes, while there is yet time — ^nearly four-aad-tw«ity 
hours — to "turn, and flee from the wrath to oome!" 
Imagine what have been the feelings of the men whom that 
fearful pew has enclosed, and of whom, between the gaUows 
and the knife, no mortal remnant may now remain ! Think 
of the hopeless cliugiTig to life to the last, and the wild 
despair, &r exceeding in anguish the felon's death itself, by 
which they have heu^d the certainly of their speedy trans- 
mission to another world, with all their crimes upon their 
heads, rung into their ears by the officiating dergyman ! 

At one time — and at no distant period either — ^the coffins 
of the men about to be executed, were plaoed in that pew, 
upon the seat by their side, during the whole service. It may 
seem incredible, but it is true. Let us hope that the increased 
spirit of civilisation and humanity which abolished this fright- 
ful and degrading custom, may extend itself to other usages 
equally barbarous ; usages which have not even the plea of 
utility in their defence, as every year's experience has shown 
them to be more and more inefficacious. 

Leaving the chapel, descending to the passage so frequently 
alluded to, and crossing the yard before noticed as being 
allotted to prisoners of a more respectable description than the 
generality of men conflned here, the visitor arrives at a thick 
iron gate of great size and strength. Having been admitted 
through it by the turnkey on duly, he turns sharp round to 
the left, and pauses before another gate ; and, having passed 
this last barrier, he stands in the most terrible part of this 
gloomy building — ^the condemned ward. 

The press-yard, well known by name to newspaper readers, 
from its fr>equent mention in accounts of executions, is at the 
oomoB of the building, and next to the ordinary's house, in 



A VISIT TO NBWGATB. 196 

Newgate-street: miming from Newgate-street, towards the 
centre of the prison, parallel with Newgate-market. It is a 
long, narrow court, of which a portion of the wall in New- 
gate-street forms one end, and the gate the other. At the 
upper end, on the left-hand — ^that is, adjoining the wall in 
Newgate-street — ^is a cistern of water, and at the bottom a 
double grating (of which the gate itself forms a part) similar 
to that before described. Through these grates the prisoners 
are allowed to see their friends ; a turnkey always remaining 
in the vacant space between, during the whole interview. 
Immediately on the right as you enter, is a building contain- 
ing the press-room, day-room, and cells ; the yard is on -every 
side surrounded by lofty walls g^uarded by ckevaux dsfrise; 
and the whole is under ^e constant inspection of vigilant and 
experienced turnkeys. 

In the first apartment into which we were conducted — 
which was at the top of a staircase, and immediately over the 
press-room — were five-and-twenty or thirty prisoners, all under 
sentence of death, awaiting the result of the recorder's report 
— ^men of all ages and appearances, from a hardened old 
offender with swarthy face and grizzly beard of three days' 
growth, to a handsome boy, not fourteen years old, and of 
singularly youthful appearance even for that age, who had 
been condemned for burglary. There was nothing remarkable 
in the appearance of these prisoners. One or two decently 
dressed men were brooding with a dejected air over the fiire ; 
several little groups of two or three had been engaged in 
conversation at the upper end of the room, or in the windows ; 
and the remainder were cnrwded round a young man seated 
at a table, who appeared to be engaged in' teaching the 
younger ones to write. The room was large, airy, and clean. 
There was very little anxiety or mental suffering depicted in 
the countenance of any of the men ; — ^they had all been sen- 
tenced to death, it is true, and the recorder's report had not 
yet been made ; but, we question whether there was a man 
among them, notwithstanding, who did not know that altibough 
he had undergone the ceremony, it never was intended that 
his life should be sacrificed. On the table lay a Testament, 
but there were no tokens of its having been in recent use. 

In the press-room below, were three men, the nature of 
whose offence rendered it necessary to separate them, even 
from their companions in guilt. It is a long, sombre rooxn, 

o2 



19d SKSTCHBS BT BOZ. 

with two windows sunk into the stone wall, and here the 
wretched men are pinioned on the morning of their execution^ 
before moving towards the scaJBfold. The fate of one of these 
prisoners was uncertain; some mitigatory circumstances having 
come to light since his trial, which had been humanely repre- 
sented in the proper quarter. The other two had nothing to 
expect from the mercy of the crown ; their doom was sealed ; 
no plea could be urged in extenuation of their crime, and they 
well knew that for them there was no hope in this world. 
** The two short ones/' the turnkey whispered, " were dead 
men." 

The man to whom we have alluded as entertaining some 
hopes of escape, was lounging at the greatest distance he 
could place between himself and his companions, in the 
window nearest to the door. He was probably aware of our 
approach, and had assumed an air of courageous indifference ; 
his face was purposely averted towards the window, and he 
stirred not an inch while we were present. The other two 
men were at the upper end of the room. One of them, who 
was imperfectly seen in the dim light, had his back towards 
us, and wajs stooping over the fire, with his right arm on the 
mantelpiece, and his head sunk upon it. The other, was 
leaning on the sill of the farthest window. The light fdl fail 
upon him, and communicated to his pale, haggard face, and 
disordered air, an appearance which, at that distance, was 
ghastly. His cheek rested upon his hand ; and, with his face 
a little raised, and his eyes widely staring before him, he 
seemed to be unconsciously intent on counting the chinks in 
the opposite wall. We passed this room again afterwards. 
The first man was pacing up and down the court with a firm 
military step — he had been a soldier in the foot-guards — and 
a doth cap jaimtOy thrown on one side of his head. He 
bowed respectfully to our conductor, and the salute was 
returned. The other two still remained in the positions we 
have described, and were as motionless as statues.* 

A few paces up the yard, and forming a continuation of the 
building, in which are the two rooms we have just quitted, lie 
the condemned cells. The entrance is by a narrow and 
obscure staircase leadiag to a dark passage, in which a chcur- 
coal stove casts a lurid tint over the objects in its immediate 

*^ These two men were executed shortly afltcrwfvrds. The other wna respited 
diuicg her majesty's pleasure. 



A VISIT TO NEWGATE. 197 

vicinity, and difiusea something like warmth around. From 
the left-hand side of this passage, the massive door of every 
cell on the story opens ; and £rom it alone can they be 
approached. There are three of these passages, and three of 
these ranges of cells, one above the other; but in size, 
^imiture, and appearance, they are aU precisely alike. Prior 
to the recorder's report being made, all the prisoners under 
sentence of death are removed from the day-room at five 
o'iilock in the afternoon, and locked up in these ceUs, where 
they are allowed a candle until ten o'clock ; and here they 
remain imtil seven next morning. When the warrant for a 
prisoner's execution arrives, he is removed to the ceUs and 
confined in one of them until he leaves it for the scaffold. He 
is at liberty to walk in the yard ; but, both in his walks and 
in his cell, he is constantly attended by a turnkey who never 
leaves him on any pretence. 

We entered the first cell. It was a stone dungeon, eight 
feet long by six wide, with a bench at the upper end, under 
which were a common rug, a bible, and prayer-book. An 
iron candlestick was fixed into the wall at the side; and a small 
high window in the back admitted as much air and light as 
oould struggle in between a double row of heavy, crossed iron 
bars. It contained no other furniture of any description. 

Conceive the situation of a man, spending his last night on 
earth in this cell. Buoyed up with some vague and undefined 
hope of reprieve, he knew not why — indulging in some wild 
and visionary idea of escaping, he knew not how — ^hour after 
hour of the three preceding days allowed him for preparation, 
has fled with a speed which no man living would deem 
possible, for none but this dying man can know. He has 
wearied his friends with entreaties, exhausted the attendants 
with importunities, neglected in his feverish restlessness the 
timely warnings of his spiritual consoler ; and, now that the 
illusion is at last dispelled, now that eternity is before him 
and guilt behind, now that his fears of death amount almost 
to madness, and an overwhelming sense of his helpless, 
hopeless state rushes upon him, he is lost and stupified, and 
has neither thoughts to turn to, nor power to call upon, the 
Almighty Being, from whom alone he can seek mercy and 
forgiveness, and before whom his repentance can alone avail. 

Hours have glided by, and BtOl he sits upon the same stone 
bench with folded arms, heedless alike of the fast-decreasing 



198 80TCHBS BY BOZ. 

time before him, and the urgent entreaties of the good man at 
his side. The feeble light is wasting gradually, and the 
deathlike stilhiess of the street without, broken only by the 
rumbling of some passing vehicle which echoes mournfully 
through the empty yards, warns him that the night is waning 
faet away. The deep bell of St. Paul's strikes — one! He 
heard it ; it has roused him. Seven hours left ! He paces 
the narrow limits of his cell with rapid strides, cold drops of 
terror starting on his forehead, and every muscle of his fraqpe 
quivering with agony. Seven hours ! He suffers himself to 
be led to his seat, mechanically takes the bible which is 
placed in his hand, and tries to read and listen. No: his 
thoughts will wander. The book is torn and soiled by use — 
and like the book he read his lessons in, at school, just forty 
years ago! He has never bestowed a thought upon it, 
perhaps, since he left it as a child: and yet ^e place, the 
time, the room — ^nay, the very boys he played with, crowd as 
vividly before him as if they were scenes of yesterday; and 
some forgotten phrase, some childish word, rings in his ears 
like the echo of one uttered but a minute since. The voice of 
the clergyman recals him to himself. He is reading from 
the sacred book its solemn promises of pardon for repentance, 
and its awfiil denunciation of obdurate men. He falls upon 
his knees and clasps his hands to pray. Hush ! what sound 
was that ? He starts upon his feet. It cannot be two yet 
Hark! Two quarters have struck; — ^the third — ^the fourth. 
It is ! Six hours left. Tell him not of repentance ! Six 
hours' repentance fpr eight times six years of guilt and sin ; 
He buries hid face in his hands, and throws himself on the 
bench. 

Worn with watching and excitement, he sleeps, and the 
same unsettled state of mind pursues him in his dreams. An 
insupportable load is taken ^m his breast; he is walking 
with his wife in a pleasant field, with the bright sky above 
them, and a fresh and boimdless prospect on every side— how 
different from the stone walls of Newgate ! She is looking — 
not as she did when he saw her for the last time in that 
dreadM place, but aa she used when he loved her — ^long, 
long ago, before misery and ill-treatment had altered" her 
looks, and vice had changed his nature, and she is leaning 
upon his arm, and looking up into his face with tenderness 
and affection — ^and he does not strike her now, nor rudely 



A VISIT TO NBWGATB. 199 

shake her from him. And oh ! how glad he is to tell her oil 
he had forgotten in that last hurried interview, and to fall on 
his knees before her and fenrently beseech her pardon for all 
the nnkindness and cruelty that wasted her form and broke 
her heart ! The scene suddenly changes. He is on his trial 
again: there are the judge and jury, and prosecutors, and 
witnesses, just as they were before. How foil the court is — 
what a sea of heads — ^with a gallows, too, and a scaffold — and 
how all those people stare at him I Verdict, " Ghiilty." No 
matter ; he will escape. 

The night is dark and cold, the gates have been left open, 
and in an instant he is in the street, flying from the scene of 
his imprisonment like the wind. The streets are cleared, the 
open fields are gained and the broad wide countzy lies before 
lum. Onward he dashes in the midst of darkness, over hedge 
and ditch, through mud and pool, bounding from spot to spot 
with a speed and lightness, astonishing even to himself. At 
length he pauses ; he must be safe from pursuit now ; he will 
stretch himself on that bank and sleep till sunrise. 

A period of unconsciousness succeeds. He wakes, cold and 
wretched. The dull gray light of morning is stealing into the 
cell, and Mis upon the form of the attendant turnkey. Con- 
fused by his dreams, he starts from his uneasy bed in 
momentary uncertainty. It is but momentary. Every object 
in the narrow cell is too frightfoUy real to a^ooit of doubt or 
mistake. He is the condemned felon again, guilty and de- 
spairing ; and in two hours more will be dead. 



200 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 



CHARACTERS. 

♦ - 

CHAPTER I. 

THOUGHTS ABOUT FEOPLB. 

It is strahge with how little notioe, good, bad, or indifferent, 
a man may live and die in London. He awakens no sympathy 
in the breast of any single person ; his existence is a matter 
of interest to no one save himself; he cannot be said to be 
forgotten when he dies, for no one remembered him when he 
was alive. There is a numerous class of people in this great 
metropolis who seem not to possess a single friend, and whom 
nobody appears to care for. Urged by imperative necessity 
in the first instance, they have resorted to London in search of 
employment, and the means of subsistence. It is hard, we 
know, to break the ties which bind us to our homes and 
friends, and harder still to efface the thousand recollections of 
happy days and old times, which have been slumbering in our 
bosoms for years, and only rush upon the mind, to bring 
before it associations connected with the friends we have left, 
the scenes we have beheld too probably for the last time, and 
the hopes we once cherished, but may entertain no more. 
These men, however, happily for themselves, have long for- 
gotten such thoughts. Old country friends have died or 
emigrated; former correspondents have become lost, like 
themselves, in the crowd and turmoil of some busy city ; and 
they have gradually settled down into mere passive creatures 
of habit and endurance. 

We were seated in the enclosure of St. James's Park the 
other day, when our attention was attracted by a man whom 
we immediately put down in our own mind as one of this 
class. He was a tall, thin, pale person, in a black coat, 
scanty gray trousers, little pinched-up gaiters, and brown 
beaver gloves. He had an umbrella in his hand — ^not for 




'V// '//////// ///'f^/// ,/rfy///- 



THOUGHTS ABOUT PBOPLB. 201 

use, for the day was fine — ^but, evidently, because lie always 
carried one to the office in the morning. He walked up and 
down before the little patch of grass on which the chairs are 
placed for hire, not as if he were doing it for pleasure or 
recreation, but as if it were a matter of compulsion, just as he 
would walk to the of&ce every morning from the back settle- 
ments of Islington. It was Monday; he had escaped for 
four-and-twenty hours from the thraldom of the desk; and 
was walking here for exercise and amusement — ^perhaps for 
the first time in his life. We were inclined to think he had 
never had a hoKday before, and that he did not know what to 
do with himself. Children were playing on the grass; 
groups of people were loitering about, chatting and laughing ; 
but the man walked steadily up and down, unheeding and 
ujiheeded, his spare pale face looking as if it were incapable 
of bearing the expression of curiosity or interest. 

There was something in the man's manner and appearance 
which told us, we fancied, his whole life, or rather his whole 
day, for a man of this sort has no variety of days. We 
thought we almost saw the dingy little back office into which 
he walks every morning, hanging his hat on the same peg, 
and placing his legs beneath the same desk : first, taking off 
that black coat which lasts the year through, and putting on 
the one which did duty last year, and which he keeps in his 
desk to save the other. There he sits till five o'clock, 
working on, all day, as regularly as the dial over the mantel^ 
piece, whose loud ticking is as monotonous as his whole 
existence: only raising his head when some one enters the 
counting-house, or when, in the midst of some difficult 
calculation, he looks up to the ceiling as if there were inspi- 
ration in the dusty skylight with a green knot in the centre 
of every pane of glass. About five, or half-past, he slowly 
dismounts from his accustomed stool, and again changing his 
coat, proceeds to his usual dining-place, somewhere near 
Bucklersbuiy. The waiter recites the bill of fare in a rather 
confidential manner — ^for he is a regular customer — and after 
inquiring " What 's in the best cut ? " and " What was up 
last ? " he orders a small plate of roast beef, with greens, and 
half-a-pint of porter. He has a small plate to-day, because 
greens are a penny more than potatoes, and he had "two 
breads " yesterday, with the additional enormity of " a cheese '* 
the day before. This important point settled, he hangs up 



202 8EETGHBS BT BOZ. 

his hat — ^he took it off the moment he sat down — and bespeaks 
the paper after the next gentleman. K he can get it while he 
is at dinner, he eats with much greater zest; balancing it 
against the water-bottle, and eating a bit of bee^ dnd reading 
a line or two, alternately. Exactly at five minutes before the 
hour is up, he produces a Hhilling pays the reckoning, care- 
fully deposits the change in his waistcoat-pocket (first deducting 
a penny for the waiter), and returns to the of&ce, from which, 
if it is not foreign post night, he again sallies forth, in about 
half an hour. He then walks home, at his usual pace, to his 
little back room at Islington, where he has his tea ; perhaps 
solacing himself during the meal with the conversation of his 
landlady's little boy, whom he occasionally rewards with a 
penny, for solving problems in simple addition. Sometimes, 
there is a letter or two to take up to his employer's, in 
Russell-square; and then, the wealthy man of business, 
hearing his voice, calls out from the dinkig-parlour, — " Come 
in, Mr. Smith ; " and Mr. Smith, putting his hat at the feet 
of one of the hall chairs, walks timidly in, and being con- 
descendingly desired to sit down, carefrdly tucks his legs 
under his chair, and sits at a considerable distance from the 
table while he drinks the glass of sherry which is poured out 
for him by the eldest boy, and after drinking which, he backs 
and slides out of the room, in a state of nervous agitation 
from which he does not perfectly recover, until he finds him- 
self once more in the lidington-road. Poor, harmless area* 
turee such men are ; contented but not happy ; broken-spirited 
and humbled, they may feel no pain, but tibiey never know 
pleasure. 

Compare these men with another class of beings who, like 
them, have neither friend nor companion, but whose position 
in society is the result of their own choice. These are generally 
old fellows with white heads and red faces, addicted to port 
wine and Hessian boots, who from some cause, real or 
imaginary — generally the former, the excellent reason being 
that they are rich, and their relations poor — ^grow suspicious 
of every body, and do the misanthropical in chambers, taking 
great delight in thinking themselves unhappy, and making 
every body they come near, miserable. You may see such 
men as these, any where ; you will know them at ooffee-houseB 
by their discontented exclamations and the luxury of their 
dinners ; at' theatres, by their always sitting in the same place 



THOUaHTS ABOUT PBOPLB. 208 

and looking witli a jaundiced eye on all the young people near 
them; at church, by the pomposity with which they enter, 
and the loud tone in which they repeat the responses; at 
parties, by their getting cross at whist and hating music. An 
old fellow of this kind will have his chambers splendidly 
furnished, and collect books, plate, and pictures about him in 
profusion; not so much for his own gratification, as to be 
superior to those who have the desire, but not the means, to 
compete with him. He belongs to two or three dubs, and is 
envied, and flattered, and hated by the members of them all. 
Sometimes he will be appealed to by a poor relation — a 
married nephew perhaps — ^for some little assistance : and then 
he will declaim with honest indignation on the improvidence 
of young married people, the worthlessness of a wife, the 
insolence of having a family, the atrocity of getting into debt 
with a hundred and twenty-five pounds a-year, and other 
unpardonable crimes; winding up his exhortations with a 
complacent review of his own conduct, and a delicate allusion 
to parochial relief. He dies, some day after dinner, of 
apoplexy, having bequeathed his property to a Public Society, 
and the Institution erects a tablet to his memory, expressive 
of their admiration of his Christian conduct in this world, and 
their comfortable conviction of his happiness in the next. 

But, next to our very particular Mends, hackney-coachmen, 
cabmen and cads, whom we admire in proportion to the 
extent of their cool impudence and perfect self-possession, 
there is no class of people who amuse us more than London 
apprentices. They are no longer an organised body, bound 
down by solemn compact to terrify his majesty's subjects 
whenever it pleases them to take offence in their heads and 
staves in their hands. They are only bounds now, by inden- 
tures ; and, as to their valour, it is easily restrained by the 
wholesome dread of the New Police, and a perspective view 
of a damp station-house, terminating in a poKce-of&ce and a 
reprimand. They are stOl, however, a peculiar class, and not 
the less pleasant for being inoffensive. Can any one fail to 
have noticed them in the streets on Sunday? And were there 
ever such harmless efforts at the grand and magnificent as 
the young fellows display ! We walked down the Strand, a 
Sunday or two ago, behind a little group ; and they furnished 
food for our amusement the whole way. They had come out 
of some part of the city; it was between three and four 



204 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

o'clock in the afternoon ; and they were on their way to the 
Park. There were fonr of them, all arm-in-arm, wilii whit^ 
kid gloves like so many bridegrooms, light trousers of tm 
precedonted patterns, and coats for which the English language 
has yet no name — a kind of cross between a great-ooat and a 
snrtout, with the collar of the one^ the skirts of the other, and 
pockets peculiar to themselves. 

Each of the gentlemen carried a thick stick, with a large 
tassel at the top, which he occasionally twirled gracefully 
round ; and the whole four, by way of looking easy and un- 
concerned, were walking with a paralytic swagger irresiBtibly 
ludicrous. One of the party had a watch about the size and 
shape of a reasonable Bibstone pippin, jammed into his waist- 
coat-pocket, which he carefully compared with the clocks at 
St. Clement's and the New Church, the illuminated dock at 
Exeter 'Change, the dock of St. Martin's Church, and the 
dock of the Horse Guards. When they at last arrived in St. 
James's Park, the member of the party who had the best 
made boots on, hired a second chair expressly for his feet, 
and flung himself on this two-pennywortii of sylvan luxtuy 
with an air which levelled all distinctions between Brookes's 
and Snooks's, Crockford's and Bagnigge WeUs. 

We may smile at such people, but they can never exdte 
our anger. They are usually on the best terms with them- 
sdves, and it follows almost as a matter of course, in good 
humour with every one about them. Besides, they are always 
the faint reflection of higher lights ; and, if they do display a 
little occasional foolery in their own proper persons, it is surdy 
more tolerable than precodous puppyism in the Quadrant, 
whiskered dandyism in Regent-street and Pall-mall^ or gal- 
lant27 in its dotage any where. 



A Ofi£IST%IAS DINNBB. 205 



CHAPTER n. 

▲ CHRISTMAS DINVEB* 



Chbistmas time! That man must be a misanthrope 
indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not 
roused — in whose mind some pleasant associations are not 
awakened — hy the recurrence of Christmas. There are people 
who will teU you that Christmas is not to them what it lused 
to be ; that each succeeding Christmas has found some 
cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed 
or passed away ; that the present only serves to remind them 
of reduced circumstances and straightened incomes — of the 
feasts they once bestowed on hollow Mends, and of the cold 
looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never 
heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who 
have lived long enough in the world, who cannot call up such 
thoughts any day in the year. Then do not select the merriest 
of the three hundred and sixty-five, for your doleful recollec- 
tions, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire — ^fiU the 
glass and send round the song — ^and if your room be smaller 
than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with 
reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on 
the matter, and empty it off-hand, and fill another, and troll 
off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it 's no 
worse. Look on the merry feujes of your children (if you 
have any) as they sit round the fire. One little seat may be 
empty; one slight form that gladdened the father's heart, 
and roused the mother's pride to look upon, may not be 
there. Dwell not upon the past; think not that one short 
year ago, the fair child now resolving into dust, sat before 
you, with the bloom of health upon its cheek, and the gaiety 
of infancy in its joyous eye. Reflect upon your present 
blessings— of which every man has many — ^not on your past 
misfortunes, of which all men have some. Fill your glass 
again, with a meny face and contented heart. Our life on 
it, but your Christmas shall be merry, and your new year a 
happy one ! 

Who can be insensible to the out-pourings of good feeling, 



206 SEBTOHES BT BOZ. 

and the honest interchange of ciSectionate attachment, which 
abound at this season of the year? A Christmas family- 
party ! We know nothing in nature more delightful ! There 
seems a magic in the very name of Christmas. Petty jealousies 
and discords are forgotten ; social feelings are awakened, in 
bosoms to which they have long been strangers; farther and 
son, or brother and sister, who have met and passed with 
averted gaze, or a look of cold recognition, fbr months before, 
proffer and return the cordial embrace, and bury their past 
animosities in their present happiness. Kindly hearts that 
have yearned towards each other, but have been withheld by 
fiolse notions of pride and self-dignity, are again reunited, and 
all is kindness and benevolence! Would that Christmas 
lasted the whole year through (as it ought), and that the 
prejudices and passions which deform our better nature, were 
never called into action among those to whom they should 
ever be strangers ! 

The Christmas family-party that we mean, is not a mere 
assemblage of relations, got up at a week or two's notice, 
originating this year, having no family precedent in the last, 
and not l^ely to be repeated in the next. No. It is an 
annual gathering of aU the accessible members of the family, 
young or old, rich or poor ; and all the children look forward 
to it, for two months beforehand, in a fever of anticipation. 
Formerly, it was held at grandpapa's; but grandpapa getting 
old, and grandmamma getting old too, and rather infirm, 
they have given up housekeeping, and domesticated them- 
selves with unde George ; so, tlie party always takes place at 
unde George's house, but grandmamma sends in most of the 
good things, and grandpapa always mU toddle down, all the 
way to Newgate-market, to buy the turkey, which he engages 
a porter to bring home behind him in triumph, always in- 
sisting on the man's being rewarded with a glass of spirits, 
over and above his hire, to drink '' a merry Christmas and a 
happy new year " to aunt George. As to grandmamma, she 
is very secret and mysterious for two or three days before- 
hand, but not sufiiciently so to prevent rumours getting afloat 
that she has purchased a beautiful new cap with pink ribbons 
for each of the servants, together with sundry books, and 
pen-knives, and pencil-cases, for the younger branches; to 
say nothing of divers secret additions to the order originally 
given by aunt Gtorge at the pastry-cook's, such as another 



A CHRISTMAS DINNER. S07 

• 

dozen of mince-piee for the dinner, and a large plum-cake fop 
the cMldren. 

On ChriBtmas-eve, grandmamma id always in excellent 
fipirits, and after employing all the children, during the day, 
in stoning the plums, and all that, insists, regularly eveiy 
year, on unde George coming down into the kitchen, taking 
off his coat, and stirring the pudding for half an hour or so, 
which imcle Qeorge good-humouredly does to the vociferous 
delight of the children and servants. The evening concludes 
with a glorious game of blind-man's-buff, in an early stage of 
which grandpapa takes great care to be caught, in order that 
he may have an opportunity of displaying his dexterity. 

On the following morning, the old couple, with as many of 
the children as the pew will hold, go to (^urch in great state : 
leaving aunt George at home dustrng decanters and filling 
eastors, and uncle Geoi^ carrying bottles into the dining- 
parloTir, and calling for oork-sciews, and getting into evezy- 
body's way. 

When the church-party return to lunch, grandpapa pro- 
duees a small sprig of misletoe from his pocket, and tempts 
the boys to kiss their little cousins under it — a proceeding 
which affords both the boys and the old gentleman unlimited 
satisfaction, but which rather outrages grandmamma's ideas 
of decorum, until grandpapa says, that when he was just 
thirteen years and three months old, hs kissed grandmamma 
under a misletoe top, on which the children dap their hands, 
and laugh very heartily, as do aunt George and unde Geoi^; 
and grandmamma looks pleased, and says, with a benevolent 
smile, that grandpapa was an impudent young dog, on which 
the children laugh veiy heartily again, and grandpapa more 
heartily than any of them. 

But all these diversions are nothing to the subsequent 
exdtement when grandmamma in a high cap, and slate- 
ooloured silk gown; and grandpapa with a beautifully plaited 
shirt-frill, and white neckerchief; seat themsdves on one side 
of the drawing-room fire, with unde George's diildren and 
little cousins innumerable, seated in the front, waiting the 
arrival of the expected visitors. Suddenly a hackney-coach is 
heard to stop, and unde George, who has been lookhig out of 
the window, exdaims '' Here 's Jane ! " on which the children 
rush to the door, and hdter-skdter down stairs ; and unde 
Robert and aunt Jane, and the dear little baby, and the 



208 SKBT0HB3 BT BOZ. 

nurse, and the whole party, are ushered up stairs amidst 
tumultuous shouts of ''Oh, my!" from the children, and 
frequently repeated warnings not to hurt baby from the nurse. 
And grandpapa takes the child, and grandmamma kisses her 
daughter, and the oonfrision of this first entry has scaroely 
subsided, when some other aunts and uncles with more oousins 
arrive, and the grown-up cousins flirt with each other, and 
so do the little cousins too, for that matter, and nothing ia 
to be heard but a confused din of talking, laughing, and 
merriment. 

A hesitating double knock at the street-door, heard during 
a momentary pause in the conversation, excites a general 
inquiry of " Who 's that ? " and two or three children, who 
have been standing at the window, announce in a low voice, 
that it's ''poor aunt Margaret." Upon which, aunt George 
leaves the room to welcome the new comer; and grandmamma 
draws herself up, rather stiff and stately; for Margaret 
married a poor man without her consent, and poverty not 
being a sufficiently weighty punishment for her offence, has 
been discarded by her friends, and debarred the society of her 
dearest relatives. But Christmas has come round, and the 
imkdnd feelings that have struggled against better dispositions 
during the year, have melted away b^ore its genial influence, 
like half-formed ice beneath the morning sun. It is not 
difficult in a moment of angiy feeling for a parent to denounce 
a disobedient child ; but, to banish her at a period of general 
good will and hilarity, from the hearth, round which she has 
sat on so many anniversaries of the same day, expanding by 
slow degrees fr^m infancy to girlhood, and then bursting, 
almost imperceptibly, into a woman, is widely different. The 
air of conscious rectitude, and cold forgiveness, which the old 
lady has assumed, sits ill upon her ; and when the poor girl 
is led in by her sister, pale in looks and broken in hope — ^not 
from poverty, for that she could bear, but from the conscious- 
ness of undeserved neglect, and unmerited unkindness — ^it is 
easy to see how much of it is assimied. A momentary pause 
succeeds ; the girl breaks suddenly from her sister and throws 
herself, sobbing, on her mother's neck. The father steps 
hastily forward, and takes her husband's hand. Friends 
crowd round to offer their hearty congratulations, and happi- 
ness and harmony again prevail. 

As to the dinner, it 's perfectly delightful — nothing goes 



A CHRISTMAS DINNER. 209 

wrong, and everybody is in the very best of spirits, and dis- 
posed to please and be pleased. Grandpapa relates a circum- 
stantial account of the purchase of the turkey, with a slight 
digression relative to the purchase of previous turkeys, on 
former Christmas-days, which grandmamma corroborates in 
the minutest particular. Unde George tells stories, and 
carves poultiy, and takes wine, and jokes with the children 
at the side-table, and winks at the cousins that are making 
love, or being made love to, and exhilaraties everybody with 
his good humour and hospitality ; and when, at last, a stout 
servant, stagers in with a gigantic pudding, with a sprig ot 
holly in the top, there is such a laughing, and shouting, and 
clapping of little chubby hands, and kicking up of fat dumpy 
legs, as can only be equalled by the applause with which tlie 
astonishing feat of pouring lighted brandy into mince-pies, is 
received by the younger visitors. Then the dessert! — and the 
wine ! — ^and the fan. ! Such beautiful speeches, and such 
songs, from aunt Margaret's husband, who tains out to be 
such a nice man, and so attentive to grandmamma ! Even 
grandpapa not only sings his annual song with unprecedented 
vigour, but on being honoured with an unanimous encore, 
according to annual custom, actually comes out with a new 
one which nobody but grandmamma ever heard before ; and 
a young scape-grace of a cousin, who has been in some dis- 
grace with the old people, for certain heinous sins of omission 
and commission — neglecting to call, and persisting in dnnk- 
ing Burton ale — astonishes everybody into convlusions of 
laughter by volunteering the most extraordinary comic songs 
that ever were heard. And thus the evening passes, in a 
strain of rational good-will and cheer^^ilness, doing more to 
awaken the sympathies of every member of the party in be- 
half of his neighbour, and to perpetuate their good feeling 
during the ensuing year, than half the homilies that have 
ever been written, by half the Divines that have ever lived. 



210 SKBTOHRS BT BOZ. 



CHAPTER III. 

THB ITBW TBAB. 



Next to Christinas-day, ihe most pleasant annual epoch in 
existence is the adrent of the New Year. There are a 
lachiymose set of people who usher in the New Year widi 
watching and fasting, as if they were bound to attend as chief 
mourners at the obsequies of the old one. Now, we cannot 
but think it a great deal more complimentary, bolii to the old 
year that has rolled away, and to the New Year that is just 
beginning to dawn upon us, to see the old fellow out, and the 
new one in, with gaiety and glee. 

There must have been some few; oocuzrences in the past 
year to which we can look back, with a smile of cheerful 
recollection, if not with a feeling of heartfelt thankfulness. 
And we are bound by eyery rule of justice and equity to give 
the New Year credit for being a good one, until he proves 
himself unworthy the confidence we repose in him. 

This is our view of the matter; and entertaining it, not- 
withstanding our respect for the old year, one of the few 
remaining moments of whose existence passes away with every 
word we write, here we are, seated by our fireside on this last 
night of the old year, one tihousand eight hundred and thirty- 
six, penning this article with as jovial a fiice as if nolJiing 
extraordinary had happened, or was about to happen, to 
disturb our good humour. 

Hackney-coaches and carriages keep rattling up the street 
and down the street in rapid succession, conveying, doubtless, 
smartly-dressed coachMs to crowded parties ; loud and re- 
peated double knocks at the house wi^ green blinds, oppo- 
site, announce to the whole neighbourhood that there's one 
large party in the street at all events ; and we saw throug-b 
the window, and through the fog too, tiU it grew so thick that 
we rung for candles, and drew our curtains, pasizyoooks* men 
with green boxes on their heads, and rout-j^imiture-warehouBe- 
oarts, with cane seats and French lamps, hurrying to the 
numerous houses where an annual festival is held' in honour 
of the occasion. 



THB NSW TRAS. 811 

We can £uifiy one of tiiese parties, we tihixiky aa well as if 
we were duly dress-ooated and pumped, and Lad just been 
announced at the drawing-room door. 

Take the house with the green blinds for instance. We 
know it is a quadiille party, because we saw some men taking 
up the front drawing-room carpet while we sat at breakfast 
this morning, and if further evidence be required, and we 
must tell the truth, we just now saw one of the young ladies 
«< doing " another of the young ladies* hair, near one of the 
bed-room windows, in an unusual style of splendour, which 
nothing else but a quadrille pariy could possibly justify. 

The master of the house with the green blinds is in a 
public office; we know the fact by the cut of his coat, the tie 
of his neckcloth, and the self-satLdaction of his gait — ^the very 
green blinds themselves have a Somerset-House air about 
them. 

Hark ! — a cab ! That 's a junior derk in the same office ; 
a tidy sort of young man, with a tendency to cold and coins, 
who comes in a pair of boots with black doth fronts, and 
brings his shoes in his coat-pocket, which shoes he is a^ this 
very moment putting on in the hall. Now, he is announced 
by the man in the passage to another man in a blue coat» who 
is a disguised messenger from the office. 

The man on the first landing precedes him to the drawing- 
room door. '' Mr. Tupple ! " shouts the messenger. '' How 
are you, Tupple ? *' says the master of the house, advancing 
froTDL the fire, before which he has been talking politics and 
airing himself. '' My dear, this is Mr. Tupple (a courteous 
«alute from the lady of the house); Tupple, my eldest 
daughter; Julia, my dear, Mr. Tupple; Tupple, my other 
daughters; my son, sir ; " Tupple rubs his hands very hard, 
and smiles as if it were all capital frm, and keeps constantly 
bowing and turning himself round, till the whole fiEunily have 
been introduced, when he glides into a chair at the comer of 
the sofa, and opens a miscellaneous conversation with the 
young ladies upon the weather, and the theatres, and the old 
year, and the last new murder, and the balloon, and the ladies^ 
sleeves, and the festivities of the season, and a great many 
other topics of small talk. 

More double knocks! what an extensive pariy; what an 
incessant hum of conversation and general sipping of oofiEee ! 
Wc see Tupple now, in our mind's eye, in the he^ht of his 

p8 



212 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

glory. He has just handed that stout old lad/s cup to the 
servant ; and now, he diyes among the crowd of young men 
by the door, to intercept the other servant, and secure the 
mufi^-plate for the old lady's daughter, before he leaves the 
room ; and now, as he passes the sofSet on his way bade, he 
bestows a glance of recognition and patronage upon the young 
ladies, as condescedding and £uniliar aa if he had known 
them from infancy. 

Charming person Mr. Tupple — ^perfect ladies' man — such a 
delightful companion, too ! Laugh ! — nobody ever imderstood 
papa's jokes half so weQ as Mr. Tupple, who laughs himself 
into convulsions at eveiy fresh burst of ^EU^tiousness. Most 
delightful partner ! talks throuigh the whole set ! and although 
he does seem at first rather gay and frivolous, so romantic and 
with so much feeling! Quite a love. No great favourite 
with the young men, certainly, who sneer at, and afEect to 
despise him; but eveiy body knows that's only envy, and 
they needn't give themselves the trouble to depredate his 
merits at any rate, for Ma says he shall be aaked to every 
future dinner-party, if it 's only to talk to people between the 
courses, and distract their attention when there 's any unex- 
pected delay in the kitchen. 

At supper, Mr. Tupple shows to stiU greater advantage 
than he has done throughout the evening, and when Pa 
requeste every one to fill their glasses for the purpose of 
drinking happiness throughout the year, Mr. Tupple is so 
droll : insisting on all the young ladies having their glasses 
filled, notwithstanding their repeated assurances that they 
never can, by any possibility, think of emptying them: and 
subsequently begging permission to say a few words on the 
sentiment which has just been uttered by Pa — when he makes 
one of the most brilliant and poetical speeches that can 
possibly be imagined, about the old year and new one. After 
the toast has been drunk, and when the ladies have retired, 
Mr. Tupple requeste that every gentleman will do him the 
favour of filling his glass, for he has a toast to propose : on 
which all the gentlemen cry "Hear! hear!" and pass the 
decanters accordingly : and Mr. Tupple being informed by the 
master of the house that they are all charged, and waiting for 
his toast, rises, and begs to remind the gentlemen present, 
how much they have been delighted by the dazzling array of 
elegance and beauty which the drawing-room has exhibited 



THB NEW TBAft. 218 

that night, and how their senses have been charmed, and their 
hearts captivated, by the bewitching concentration of female 
loveliness which that very room has so recently displayed. 
(Loud cries of "Hear!") Much as he (Tupple) would be 
disposed to deplore the absence of the ladies, on other grounds, 
he cannot but derive some consolation from the reflection that 
the very circumstance of their not being present, enables him 
to propose a toast, which he would have oUierwise been 
prevented from giving — ^that toast he begs to say is — '' The 
Ladies ! '' (Great applause.) The Ladies ! among whom the 
fascinating daughters of their excellent host are alike con- 
spicuous for their beauty, their accomplishments, and their 
^egance. He begs them to drain a bumper to '' The Ladies, 
and a happy new year to them ! " (Prolonged approbation ; 
above which the noise of the ladies dancing the Spanisli dance 
among themselves, over head, is distinctly audible.) 

The applause consequent on this toast, has scarcely sub- 
sided, when a young gentleman in a pink under-waistcoat, 
sitting towards the bottom of the table, is observed to grow 
very restless and fidgeiy, and to evince strong indications of 
some latent desire to give vent to his feelings in a speech, 
which the wary Tupple at once perceiving, determines to 
forestal by speaking himself. He, therefore, rises again, with 
an air of solemn importance, and trusts he may be permitted 
to propose another toast (unqualified approbation, and Mr. 
Tupple proceeds). He is sure they must all be deeply 
impressed with the hospitality — ^he may say the splendour — 
wi^ which they have been that night received by their worthy 
liost and hostess. (Unbounded applause.) Although thiis 
is the first occasion on which he has had the pleasure and 
delight of sitting at that board, he has known his friend 
Dobble long and intimately; he has been connected with him 
in business — ^he wishes every body present knew Dobble as 
well as he does. (A cough from llie host.) He (Tupple) 
can lay his hand upon his (Tupple's) heart, and declare his 
confident belief that a better man, a better husband, a better 
fiEtther, a bettor brother, a better son, a better relation in any 
relation of life, than Dobble, never existed. (Loud cries of 
"Hear!") They have seen him to-night in the peaceful 
bosom of his feimily : they should see him in the morning, 
in the trying duties of his office. Calm in the perusal of 
the morning papers, uncompromising in the signature of his 



214 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

name, dignified in his replies to the inquiries of stranger 
applicants, deferential in his behayiour to his superiors, 
majestic in his deportment to the messengers. (Cheers.) 
"When he bears this merited testimony to the excellent 
qualities of his friend Dobble, what can he saj in approaching 
such a subject as Mrs. Dobble? Is it requisite for him to 
expatiate on the qualities of that amiable woman ? No ; he- 
will spare his Mend Debbie's feelings; he wiU spare the 
feelings of his Mend — if he will allow him to have the honour 
of calling him so— Mr. Dobble, junior. (Here Mr. Dobble, 
junior, who has been previouslj distending his mouth to a 
considerable width, by thrusting a particularly fine orange 
into that feature, suspends operations, and assumes a proper 
appearance of intense melancholy.) He will simply say — and 
he is quite certain it is a sentiment in which all who hear him 
win readily concur — ^that his friend Dobble is as superior to 
any man he erer knew, aa Mrs. Dobble is far beyond any 
woman he ever saw (except her daughters); and he will 
conclude, by proposing their worthy ''Host and Hostess^ and 
may they live to enjoy many more new years ! " 

The toast is drmik with acclamation ; Dobble returns- 
thanks, and the whole party rejoin the ladies in the drawing- 
room. Young men who were too bashfiil to dance before 
supper, find tongues and partners; the musicjaas exhibit 
unequiyocal symptoms of having drunk the new year in, while- 
the company were out ; and dancing is kept up, until far in 
the first morning of the new year. 

We have scarcely written the last word of the previous 
sentence, when the first stroke of twelve, peals from the- 
neighbouring churches. There certainly — ^we must confess it 
now — is something awfdl in the sound. Strictly speaking, it 
may not be more impressive now, than at any otiier time ; for 
the hours steal as swiftly on, at other periods, and their flight 
is little heeded. But, we measure man's life by years, and it 
is a solemn knell that warns us we have passed another of the 
landmarks which stand between us and ike grave. Disguise 
it aa we may, the reflection will force itself on our minds, that 
when the next bell announces the arrival of a new year, we- 
may be insensible alike of the timely warning we have so- 
often neglected, and of all the warm feelings that glow withiib 
OS now. 




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HISS EVANS AND THB BAGLB. 210 



CHAPTER IV. 

loss EVANS AND THE SAQLE. 

Mb. Sahxtel Wilkiks was a carpenter, a joumejinan 
carpenter of small dimensions, decidedly below the middle 
size — ^bordering, perhaps, upon the dwarfish. His face was 
round and shining, and hk hair carefiiUj twisted into the 
outer comer of each eje, till it formed a variety of that 
description of semi-curls, usually known as " a^^;erawators." 
His earnings were all-sufficient for his wants, varying from 
eighteen shillings to one pound five, weekly — ^his manner 
undeniable — his sabbath waistcoats dazzling. No wonder 
that, with these qualifications, Samuel Wilkins found fiEtvour 
in the eyes of the other sex : many women have been capti- 
vated by fieur less substantial qualifications. But, Samuel was 
proof against their blandishments, until at length his eyes 
rested on those of a Being for whom, firom that time forth, he 
Mi iaiB had destined him. He came, and conquered — ^pro- 
posed, and was accepted — loved, and was beloved. Mr. 
Wilkins " kept company " with Jemima Evans. 

Miss Evans (or Ivins, to adopt the pronunciation most in 
vogue with her circle of acquaintance) had adopted in early 
life the useful pursuit of shoe-binding, to which she had 
afterwards superadded the occupation of a straw-bonnet maker. 
Herself, her maternal parent, and two sisters, formed an 
harmonious quartett in the most secluded portion of Camden- 
town; and here it was that Mr. Wilkins presented himself, 
one Monday afternoon, in his best attire, with his face more 
whiTiiTig and his waistcoat more bright than either had ever 
appeared before. The fsmiily were just going to tea, and 
were so glad to see him. It was quite a little feast ; two 
ounces of seven-and-sixpenny green, and a quarter of a pound 
of the best firesh ; and Mr. Wilkins had brought a pint of 
shrimps, neatly folded up in a dean belcher, to give a zest to 
the meal, and propitiate Mrs. Ivins. Jemima was " cleaning 
herself" up-stairs; so Mr. Samuel Wilkins sat down and 
talked domestic economy with Mrs. Ivins, whilst the two 
youngest Miss Ivinses poked bits of lighted brown paper 



21tt SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

between the bars under the kettle to make the water boil far 
tea. 

'' I wos a thinking/' said Mr. Samuel Wilkins, daring a 
pause in the conversation — "I wos a thinking of taldng 
J'mima to the Eagle to-night." — " O my ! " exclaimed Mrs. 
Ivins. '' Lor ! how nice ! " said the youngest Miss Ivins. 
'* Well, I declare ! " added the youngest Miss Ivins but one. 
'' Tell J'miina to put on her white muslin, Tilly/* screamed 
Mrs. Ivins, with motherly anxiety; and down came J'mima 
herself soon afterwards in a wMte muslin gown carefully 
hooked and eyed, a little red shawl, plentifully pinned, a 
white straw bonnet trimmed with red ribbons, a small neck- 
lace, a large pair of bracelets, Denmark satin shoes, and 
open-worked stockings; white cotton gloves on her fingers, 
and a cambric pocket-handkerchief, careMly folded up, in 
her hand — all quite genteel and ladylike. And away went 
Miss Jemima Ivins and Mr. Samuel Wilkins, and a dress cane, 
with a gilt knob at the top, to the admiration and envy of the 
street in general, and to ike high gratification of Mrs. Ivins, 
and the two youngest Miss Ivinses in particular. They had 
no sooner turned into the Pancras road, than who shoidd Miss 
J'mima Ivins stumble upon, by the most fortunate accident in 
the world, but a young lady as she knew, with her young 
man ! — ^And it is so strange how things do turn out sometimes 
^-^they were actually going to the Eagle too. So Mr. Samuel 
Wilkins was introduced to Miss J'mima Ivins's friend's young 
man, and they all walked on together, talking, and laughing, 
and joking away like anything ; and when they got as fsir as 
Pentonville, Miss Ivins*s friend's young man would have ihe 
ladies go into the Crown, to taste some shrub, which, after a 
great blushing and giggling, and hiding of faces in eLaboraie 
pocket-handkerchiefs, they consented to do. Having tasted it 
once, they were easily prevailed upon to taste it again ; and 
they sat out in the garden tasting shrub, and looking at the 
Busses alternately, till it was just the proper time to go to the 
Eagle ; and then they resumed their journey, and walked veiy 
fast, for fear they ahoidd lose the beginning of the concert in 
the rotunda. 

'' How ev'nly ! " said Miss Jemima Ivins, and Miss Jemima 
Ivins's friend, both at once, when they had passed the gate 
and were fairly inside the gardens. There were the walks, 
beautifully gravelled and planted — and the refreshment-bozes. 



MISS BYANS AND THB BAQLB. S17 

painted and ornamented like so many snuff-boxes — and the 
yaiieigated lamps shedding their rich l^ht upon the company's 
heads — ^and the place for dancing ready chalked for the com- 
pany's feet — ^and a Moorish band playing at one end of the 
gardens — ^and an opposition military band playing away at 
the other. Then, the waiters were rushing to and fro with 
glasses of negus, and glasses of brandy-and-water, and bottles 
of ale, and bottles of stout ; and ginger-beer was going off 
in one place, and practical jokes were going on in another ; 
^and people were crowding to the door of the Eotunda ; and 
in short the whole scene was, aa Miss J'mima Ivins, inspired 
by the novelty, or the shrub, or both, observed — "one of 
daroling excitement." As to the concert-room, never was 
anything half so splendid. There was an orchestra for the 
singers, all paint, gilding, and plate-glass; and such an 
organ ! Miss J'mima Ivins's friend's young man whispered 
it had cost "four hundred pound," which Mr. Samuel Wilkins 
said was " not dear neither ; " an opinion in which the ladies 
perfectly coincided. The audience were seated on elevated 
benches round the room, and crowded into every part of it ; 
and everybody was eating and drinking as comfortably as 
possible. Just before the concert commenced, Mr. Samuel 
Wilkins ordered two glasses of nun-and-water "warm with — " 
and two slices of lemon, for himself and the other young man, 
togetlier with " a pint o' sherry wine for the ladies, and some 
sweet carraway-seed biscuits;" and they woidd have been 
quite comfortable and happy, only a strange gentleman with 
large whiskers wotdd stare at Aiiiss J'mima Ivins, and another 
gentleman in a plaid waistcoat wotdd wink at Miss J'mima 
Ivins's Mend ; on which Miss J'mima Ivins's friend's young 
man exhibited symptoms of boiling over, and began to mutter 
about " people's imperence," and " swells out o' luck ; " and 
to intimate, in oblique terms, a vague intention of knocking 
somebody's head off; whidi he waa only prevented from 
announcing more emphatically, by both Miss J'mima Ivins and 
her friend threatening to faint away on the spot if he said 
another word. 

The concert commenced— overture on the organ. "How 
solemn!" exclaimed Miss J'mima Ivins, glancing, perhaps 
unconsciously, at the gentleman with the whiskers. Mr. 
Samuel Wilkins, who had been muttering apart for some time 
past, as if he were holding a confidential conversation with 



318 SEBTCHRS BT BOZ. 

the gilt knob of the dress cane, breathed hard — breathing 
vengeance, perhaps, — ^but said nothing. *' The soldier tired," 
Miss Somebody in white satin. " Ancore ! " cried Miss 
Jemima Ivins's friend. " Anoore ! " shouted the gentleman 
in the plaid waistooat immediately, hammering the table with 
a stout-bottle. Miss J'mima lyins's friend's young man eyed 
the man behind the waistcoat from bead to foot, and cast a 
look of interrogative contempt towards Mr. Samuel Wilkins. 
Comic song, accompanied on the organ. Miss J'mima Ivins 
was convulsed with laughter — so was the man with the 
whiskers. Every thing the ladies did, the plaid waistcoat 
and whiskers did, by way of expressing unity of sentiment 
and congeniality of soul ; and Miss J'mima Ivins, and Miss 
J'mima Ivins's friend, grew lively and talkative, as Mr. 
Samuel Wilkins, and Miss J'mima Ivins's friend's young 
man, grew morose and snrly in inverse proportion. 

Now, if the matter had ended here, the little parfy might 
soon have recovered their former equanimity; but Mr. Samuel 
Wilkins and his friend began to throw looks of defiance upon 
the waistcoat and whiskers. And the waistcoat and whiskers, 
by way of intimating the alight degree in which they were 
affected by the looks aforesaid, bestowed glances of increased 
admiration upon Miss J'mima Ivins and friend. The concert 
and vaudeville concluded, they promenaded the gardens. The 
waistcoat and whiskers did the same; and made ^vers 
remarks complimentaiy to the ankles of Miss J'mima Ivins 
and friend, in an audible tone. At length, not satisfied with 
these numerous atrocities, they actually came up and asked 
Miss J'mima Ivins, and Miss J'mima Ivins's friend to dance, 
without taking no more notice of Mr. Samuel Wilkins, and 
Miss J'mima Ivins's friend's young man, than if they was 
nobody! 

'' What do you mean by that, scoundrel? " exclaimed Mr. 
Samuel Wilkins, grasping the gilt-knobbed dress-cane firmly 
in his right hand. " What 's the matter with you, you Httie 
humbug ? " replied the whiskers. *' How dare you insult me 
and my friend?" inquired the friend's young man. "You 
and your friend be hanged!" responded the waistcoat. "Take 
that," exclaimed Mr. Samuel Wilkins. The ferrule of the 
gilt-knobbed dress-cane was visible for an instant, and then 
the light of the variegated lamps shone brightly upon it as it 
whirled into the air, cane and alL " Qive it him," said the 



THB PARLOUR ORATOR. 219 

waistcoat. " Horfioer ! " soreained the ladies. Miss J'mima 
Iyihs's beau, and the friend's young man, lay gasping on tihe 
gravel, and the waistcoat and whiskers were seen no more. 

Miss J'mima Ivins and Mend being conscdons that the 
afi&ay was in no slight degree attributable to themselves, of 
course went into hysterics forthwith ; declared themselves the 
most injured of women; exclaimed, in incoherent ravings, 
that they had been suspected — wrongfully suspected — oh! 
that they should ever have lived to see ^e day — and so forth ; 
Boifered a relapse eveiy time they opened their eyes and saw 
their unfortunate little admirers ; and were carried to their 
respective abodes in a hackney-coach, and a state of insensi- 
bility, compounded of shrub, aheny, and excitement. 



CHAPTER V. 

THS PAKLOUB OBATOB. 



We bad been lounging one evening, down Oxford-street, 
Holbom, Cheapside, Coleman-street, Finsbuiy-square, and so 
on, with the intention of returning westward, by Pentonville 
and the New-road, wben we began to feel rather thirsty, and 
disposed to rest for five or ten minutes. So, we turned back 
towards an old, quiet, decent public-Louse, which we remem- 
bered to have passed but a moment before (it was not flar 
from the City-road), for the purpose of solacing ourself with 
a glass of ale. The house was none of your stuccoed, French- 
polished, illuminated palaces, but a modest public-house of 
the old school, with a little old bar, and a little old landlord, 
who, with a wife and daughter of tiie same pattern, was com- 
fortably seated in the bar aforesaid — a snug little room with 
a che^rfbl fire, protected by a large screen: from behind 
which the young lady emerged on our representing our 
inclination for a glass of ale. 

"Won't you walk into the parlour, sir? " said the young 
lady, in seductive tones. 

" Tou had better walk into the parlour, sir,'' said the little 
old landlord, throwing his chair back, and looking round one 
ode of the screen, to survey our appearance. 



«20 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

" You liad much better step into the parlour, sir/' said the 
little old lady, popping out her head, on the other side of the 
screen. 

We cast a slight glance around, as if to express our 
ignorance of the localiiy so much recomm^ided. The little 
old landlord observed it ; busUed out of the small door of the 
small bar ; and forthwith ushered us into the parlour itself. 

It was an ancient, dark-looking room, with oaken wains- 
•coting, a sanded floor, and a high mantelpiece. The walls 
were ornamented with three or four old coloured prints in 
black frames, each print representing a naval engagement, 
with a couple of men-of-war banging awaj at each other 
most vigorously, while another vessel or two were blowing up 
in the distance, and the foreground presented a miscellaneous 
•collection of broken masts and blue l^;s sticking up out of 
the water. Depending from the ceiling in the centre of the 
room, were a gas-light and bell-pull ; on each side were three 
or four long narrow tables, behind which was a thickly- 
planted row of those slippery, shiny-looking wooden chairs, 
peculiar to hostelries of this description. The monotonous 
appearance of the sanded boards was relieved by an occasional 
spittoon; and a triangular pile of those useful articles adorned 
the two upper comers of the apartment. 

At the furthest table, nearest the fire, with his face towards 
the door at the bottom of the room, sat a stoutish man of 
about forty, whose short, sti£^ black hair curled closely round 
a broad high forehead, and a fiaxie to which something besides 
water and exercise had communicated a rather inflamed 
'appearance. He was smoking a cigar, with his eyes fixed 
on the ceiling, and had that confident oracular air which 
marked him aa the leading politician, general authoriiy, and 
universal anecdote-relater, of the place. He had evidenUy 
just delivered himself of something very weighty; for the 
remainder of the company were puffing at the^ respective 
pipes and cigars in a kind of solemn abstraction, as if quite 
overwhelmed with the magnitude of the subject recently under 
•discussion. 

On his right hand sat an elderly gentleman with a white 
head, and broad-brimmed brown hat ; on his left, a sharp- 
nosed light-haired man in a brown surtout reaching nearly to 
his heels, who took a whiff at his pipe, and an admiring 
glance at the red-faced man, alternately. 



THS PABL0I7E OK^TOR. 221 

*' Veiy extraordinary ! " said the ligHt-haired tnan after a 
pause of five minutes. A murmur of assent ran through the 
oompany. 

^* Not at aU extraordinary — ^not at all," said the red-faced 
man, awakening suddenly £x>m his reverie, and turning upon 
the light-haired man, the moment he had spoken. 

" Why should it be extraordinary ? — ^why is it extraordi- 
nary ? — ^prove it to be extraordinary ! " 

" Oh, if you oome to that — " said the light-haired man, 
meekly. 

" Oome to that ! " ejaculated the man -with the red face ; 
" but we mmt oome to that. We stand, in these times, upon 
a calm elevation of inteUeotual attainment, and not in the 
dark recess of mental deprivation. Proof, is what I require 
— ^proof, and not assertions, in these stirring times. Every 
gen'lem'n that knpws me, knows what was the nature and 
eB&ct of my observations, when it was in the contemplation 
of the Old-street Suburban Representative Discovery Society, 
to recommend a candidate for that place in Cornwall there — ^I 
forget the name of it. ' Mr. Snobee,' said Mr. Wilson, ' is a 
fit and proper person to represent the borough in Parliament.' 
^ Prove it,* says I. 'He is a friend to Eeform,' says Mr. 
Wilson. ' Prove it,' says I. ' The abolitionist of the national 
debt, the unflinching opponent of pensions, the uncompro- 
mising advocate of the negro, the reducer of sinecures and 
the duration of Parliaments ; the extender of noting but the 
sof&ages of the people,' says Mr. Wilson. ' Prove it,' says I. 
* His acts prove it,* says he. * Prove them,* says I. 

'' And he could not prove them," said the red-faced man, 
looking round triumphantly ; ** and the borough didn't have 
him; and if you carried this principle to the fall extent, 
you 'd have no debt, no pensions, no sinecures, no negroes, no 
nothing. And then, standing upon an elevation of intellectual 
attainment, and having reached the summit of popular pro- 
sperity, you might bid defiance to the nations of the earth, 
and erect yourselves in the proud confidence of wisdom and 
superiority. This is my argument — ^this always has been my 
argument — and if I was a Member of the House of Commons 
to-morrow, I 'd make 'em shake in their shoes with it." And 
the red-faced man, having struck the table very hard with his 
clenched fist, to add weight to the declaration, smoked away 
like a brewery. 



222 SEBTOHBS BT BOZ. 

'' Well ! " said the sharp-nosed man, in a veiy alow and 
soft voice, addressing the company in general, " I always do 
say, that of all the gentlemen I have the pleasure of meeting 
in this room, there is not one whose conversation I like to 
hear so much as Mr. Bogers's, or who is such improving 
company." 

'' Improving company ! " said Mr. Bogers, for that, it 
seemed, was the name of the red-faoed man, " You may say 
I am improving company, for I Ve improved you aU to some 
purpose ; though as to my conversation being as my friend 
Mr. KIliB here describes it, that is not for me to say anything 
about. You, gentlemen, are the best judges on that point ; 
but this I wiU say, when I came into this parish, and first 
used this room, ten years ago, I don't believe there was one 
man in it who knew he was a slave — ^and now you all know 
it, and writhe imder it. Inscribe that upon my tomb, and I 
sLvn satisfied." 

''Why, as to inscribing it on your tomb," said a Httle 
greengrocer with a chubby face, "of course you can have 
anything chalked up, as you likes to pay for, so far as it 
relates to yourself and your afiEiairB ; but, when you come to 
talk about slaves and that there abuse, you 'd better keep it 
in the &mily, 'cos I for one don't like to be called them names, 
night after night." 

" You are a slave," said the red-faced man, " and the most 
pitiable of jdl slaves." 

" Weny hard if I am," interrupted the greengrocer, " for 
I got no good out of the twenty million that was paid for 
'mancipation, any how." 

" A willing slave," ejaculated the red-feu^ed man, getting 
more red with eloquence, and contradiction — " resigning the 
dearest birthright of your children — neglecting tihe sacred 
call of Liberty — who, standing imploringly before you, 
appeals to the warmest feelings of your heart, and points to 
your helpless infants but in vain." 

" Prove it," said the greengrocer. 

" Prove it ! " sneered the man with the red face. " What! 
bending beneath the yoke of an insolent and factious 
oligarchy; bowed down by the domination of cruel laws; 
groaning beneath tyranny and oppression on every hand, at 
•every side, and in every comer. Prove it? — " The red- 
faced man abruptly broke off, sneered melo-dramatically, and 



THB PABLOUB OBATOB. 223 

buried his ooimtenance and his indignatioii together, in a 
quart pot. 

"Ah, to be sure, Mr. Bogers," said a stout broker in a 
large waistcoat, who had kept his eyes fixed on this luminary 
all the time he was speaking. " Ah, to be sure," said the 
broker with a sigh, '' that 's the point." 

'' Of course, of course," said divers members of the com- 
pany, who understood almost as much about the matter as the 
broker himself. 

" You had better let him alone. Tommy," said the broker, 
by way of adyice to the little greengrocer, *' he can tell what 's 
o'clock by an eight-day, without looking at the minute hand, 
he can. Try it on, on some other suit ; it won't do with him. 
Tommy." 

" What is a man ? " continued the red-faced specimen of 
the species, jerking his hat indignantly from its peg on the 
wall. ''What is an Englishman? Is he to be trampled 
upon by every oppressor? Is he to be knocked down at 
everybody B bidding? What's freedom? Not a standing 
army. What's a standing army? Not freedom. What's 
general happiness ? Not universal misery. Liberty ain't the 
window-tax, is it ? The Lords ain't the Commons, are they?" 
And the red faced man, gradually bursting into a radiating 
sentence, in which such adjectives as " dastardly," '' oppres- 
sive," "violent," and "sanguinary," formed ihe most con- 
ispicuous words, knocked his hat indignantly over his eyee^ 
left the room, and slammed the door after him. 

" Wonderful man ! " said he of the sharp nose. 

" Splendid speaker ! " added the broker. 

" Great power ! " said every body but the greengrocer. 
And as they said it, the whole party shook their heads 
mysteriously, and one by one retired, leaving us alone in the 
old parlour. If we had followed the established precedent in 
idl such instances, we should have flEdlen into a fit of musing, 
without delay. The ancient appearance of the room — the old 
panelling of the wall — ^the chimney blackened with smoke 
and age — would have carried us back a hundred years at 
least, and we should have gone dreaming on, until the pewter- 
pot on the table, or the little beer-chiller on the fire, had 
started into life, and addressed to us a long story of day- 
gone by. But, by some means or other, we were not in a 
romantic humour ; and although we tried very hard to invest 



^24 8EBTCHES BY BOZ. 

the furniture with vitality, it remained perfectly nmnoved, 
obstinate, and sullen. Being thus reduced to the unpleasant 
necessity of musing about ordinary matters, our thoughts 
reverted to the red-faced man, and his oratorical display. 

A numerous race are these red-&ced men ; there is not a 
parlour, or dub-room, or benefit society, or humble parly of 
any kind, without its red-faced man. Weak-pated dolts they 
are, and a great deal of mischief they do to their cause, how- 
ever good. So, just to hold a pattern one np, to know the 
others by, we took his Hkenees at once, and put him in here. 
And ihat is the reason why we have written this paper. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THB HOSPITAL PAHSKT. 



Iv our raimbles through the streets of London after evemng 
has set in, we often pause beneath the windows of some public 
hospital, and picture to ourselves the gloomy and mouiiiM 
scenes that are passing within. The sudden moving of a 
taper as its feeble ray shoots firom window to wind6w,"tmtil its 
light gradually disappears, as if it were carried farther back 
into the room to the bedside of some suffering patient, id 
enough to awaken a whole crowd of reflections: the mere 
glimmering of the low-burning lamps, which, when all other 
habitations are wrapped in darkness and slumber, denote the 
chamber where so many forms are writhing with pain, or 
wasting with disease, is sufficient to check the most l^oisterous 
merriment. 

Who can teU the anguish of those weary hours, when the 
only sound the sick man hears, is the disjointed wanderings of 
some feverish slumberer near him, the low moan of pain, or 
perhaps the muttered, long-forgotten prayer of a dying man ? 
Who, but they who have felt it, can imagine the sense of 
loneliness and desolation which must be the portion of those 
who in the hour of dangerous illness are left to be tended by 
strangers ; for what hands, be they ever so gentle, can wipe 
the clammy brow, or smooth the restless bed, like those of 
mother, wife, or child ? 




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THE HOSPITAL PATIKNT. 226 

Impressed with these thoughts, we have tumed awaj, 
through the nearly deserted streets ; aad the sight of the few 
miserable creatures stUI hovering about them, has not tended 
to lessen the pain which such meditations awaken. The 
hospital is a refuge aad resting-pla<)e for hundreds, who but 
for such institutions must die in the streets and doorways ; 
but what can be the feelings of some outcasts when they are 
stretched on the bed of sickness with scarcely a hope of 
recovery ? The wretched woman who lingers about the pave- 
ment, hours after midnight, and tlie miserable shadow of a 
man — ^the ghastly remnant that want and drunkenness have 
left — ^which crouches beneath a window-ledge, to sleep where 
there is some shelter from the rain, have little to bind them 
to life, but what have they to look back upon, in death ? 
What are the unwonted comforts of a roof and a bed, to 
them, when the recollections of a whole life of debasement 
stalk before them ; when repentance seems a mockery, and 
sorrow comes too late ? 

About a twelvemonth ago, as we were strolling through 
Covent garden, (we had been thinking about these things 
overnight) we were attracted by the very prepossessing 
appearance of a pickpocket, who having declined to take the 
trouble of walking to the Police-office, on the ground that he 
hadn't the slightest wish to go there at all, was being con- 
veyed thither in a wheelbarow, to the huge delight of a 
crowd. 

Somehow, we never can resist joining a crowd, so we tumed 
back with the mob, and entered the office, in company with 
our Mend the pickpocket, a couple of policemen, and as many 
dirty-faced spectators as could squeeze their way in. 

There was a powerftd, ill-looking young fellow at the bar, 
who was undergoing an examination, on the very common 
charge of having, on the previous night, ill-treated a 
woman, with whom he lived in some court hard by. Several 
witnesses bore testimony to acts of the grossest brutality ; 
and a certificate was read fix)m the house-surgeon of a 
neighbouring hospital, describing the nature of the injuries 
the .woman had received, and intimating that her recovery 
was extremely doubtful. 

Some question appeared to have been raised about the 
identity of the prisoner ; for when it was agreed that the two 
magistrates should visit the hospital at eight o'clock that 



226 BOTCHES BT BOZ. 

evening, to take her deposition, it was settled that the man 
should be taken there ako. He turned pale at this, and we 
saw him clench the bar very hard when the order was given. 
He was removed directly afterwards, and he spoke not a word. 

We felt an irrepressible curiosity to witness this interview, 
although it is hard to teU why, at this instant, for we knew it 
must be a painftd one. It was no veiy difficult matter for us 
to gain permission, and we obtained it. 

The prisoner, and the officer who had him in custody, were 
already at the hospital when we reached it, and waiting the 
arrival of the magistrates in a small room below stairs. The 
man was handcufPed, and his hat was pulled forward over his 
eyes. It was easy to see, though, by the whiteness of his 
countenance, and the constant twitching of the muscles of his 
£Ekce, that he dreaded what was to come. After a short 
interval, the magistrates and derk were bowed in by the house- 
surgeon and a couple of young men who smelt very strong of 
tobacco-smoke — ^they were introduced as "dressers" — and 
after one magistrate had complained bitterly of the cold, and 
the other of the absence of any news in the evening paper, it 
was annoimced that the patient was prepared ; and we were 
conducted to the " casualty ward " in which she was lying. 

The dim light which burnt in the spacious room, increased 
rather than diminished the ghastly appearance of the hapless 
creatures in the beds, which were ranged in two long rows on 
either side. In one bed, lay a child enveloped in bandages, 
with its body half consumed by fere ; in another, a female, 
rendered hideous by some dreadj^ accident, was wildly 
beating her clenched fists on the coverlet, in pain ; on a third, 
there lay stretched a young girl, apparently in the heavy 
stupor oft;en the immediate precursor of death : her face was 
stained with blood, and her breast and arms were bound up in 
folds of linen. Two or three of the beds were empty, and 
their recent occupants were sitting beside them, but with faces 
so wan, and eyes so bright and glassy, that it was fearful to 
meet their gaze. On every fiace was stamped the expression 
of anguish and suffering. 

The object of the visit, was lying at" the upper end of the 
room. She was a fine young woman of about two or three 
and twenty. Her long black hair which had been hastily cut 
from near the wounds on her head, streamed over the pillow 
in jagged and matted locks. Her face bore deep marks of the 



THK HOSPITAL PATIENT, 227 

ill-usage she had received : her hand was pressed upon her 
side, as if her chief pain were there ; her breathing was short 
and heavy ; and it was plain to see that she was dying fast. 
She murmnred a few words in reply to the magistrate's 
inquiry whether she was in great pain; and, having been 
raised on the pillow by the nurse, looked vacantly upon the 
strange countenances that surrounded her bed. The magis- 
trate nodded to the officer, to bring the man forward. He 
did so, and stationed him at the bedside. The girl looked on, 
with a wild and troubled expression of fajce ; but her sight 
was dim, and she did not know him. 

" Take off his hat," said the magistrate. The officer did 
as he was desired, and the man's features were disclosed. 

The girl started up, with an energy quite preternatural ; the 
fire gleamed in her heavy eyes, and the blood rushed to her 
pale and sunken cheeks. It was a convulsive effort. She 
fell back upon her pillow, and covering her scarred and 
bruised face with her hands, burst into tears. The man cast 
an anxious look towards her, but otherwise appeared wholly 
unmoved. After a brief pause the nature of their errand was 
explained, and the oath tendered. 

" Oh, no, gentlemen," said the girl, raising herself once 
more, and folding her hands together ; ''no gentlemen, for 
God's sake ! I did it myself — ^it was nobod/s fault — it was 
an accident. He didn't hurt me; he wouldn't for all the 
world. Jack, dear Jack, you know you wouldn't ! " 

Her sight was fast failing her, and her hand groped over 
the bedclothes in search of his. Brute as the man was, he 
was not prepared for this. He turned his face j&om the bed, 
and sobbed. The girl's colour changed, and her breathing 
grew more difficult. She was evidently dying. 

" We respect the feelings which prompt you to this," said 
the gentleman who had spoken first, '' but let me warn you, 
not to persist in what you know to be untrue, until it is too 
late. It cannot save him." 

" Jack," murmured the girl, la3dng her hand upon his arm, 
" they shall not persuade me to swear your life away. He 
didn't do it, gentlemen. He never hurt me." She grasped 
his arm tightly, and added, in a broken whisper, " I hope 
Qod Almighly will forgive me all the wrong I have done, and 
the life I have led. God bless you. Jack. Some kind gentle- 
man take my love to my poor old father. Five years ago, ho 

Q2 



228 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

said lie wiahed I had died a child. Oh, I wish I had ! I wish 
Ihadl" 

The nurse bent oyer the girl for a few seconds, and then 
drew the sheet over her fiEice. It covered a corpse. 



CHAPTER VIL 

THE M18PLA0RD ATTACHMENT Or MB. JOHN BOUNCE. 

If we had to make a classiEc^'tion of society, there are a 
particular kind of men whom we should immediately set 
down imder the head of '' Old Boys ; " and a ooliunn of moet 
eztensive dimensions the old boys would require. To what 
precise causes the rapid advance of old boy population ia to be 
traced, we are unable to determine. It would be an inteifist- 
ing and curious speculation, but, as we have not sujOicieiit 
q>ace to devote to it here, we simply state the fact that the 
numbers of the old boys have been gradually atu^mentiog* 
within the last few years, and that th^ are at. this veijmtent 
alarmingly on the increase. 

Upon a general review of the subject, and without eonsider- 
ing it minutely in detail, we should be di£^)0sed to subdivide 
the old boys into two distinct classes — ^the gay old boys, and 
the steady old boys. The gay old boys, are paunchy old men 
in the disguise of young ones, who frequent the Quadrant axkd 
Kegent-street in the day-time: the theatres (especially theatres 
imder lady management) at night ; and who assume aU the 
foppishness and levity of boys, without the excuse <^ youilL or 
inexperience. The steady old boys are certain stout old gen- 
tiemen of dean appearance, who are always to be seen in the 
same taverns, at the same hours every evening, smoking and 
drinking in the same company. 

There was once a fine collection of old boys, to be seen 
roimd the circular table at Offle/s every night, between the 
hours of half-past eight and half-past eleven. We have lost 
sight of them for some time. There were, and may be still, 
for aught we know, two splendid specimens in fall blossom at 
the Rainbow Tavern in Fleet-street, who always used to sit in 
the box nearest the fire-place, and smoked long cheny-stick 




^ '• ^ 



MISPLACED ATTACHMENT OF MR. JOHN DOUNCB. 229 

pipes which went under the table, with the bowls resting on 
the floor. Grand old boys they were — ^fat, red-faced, white- 
headed, old fellows — always there— one on one side the table, 
and the other opposite — ^puffing and drinking away in g^at 
state. Eyeiybody knew them, and it was supposed by some 
people that tiiey were both immortal. 

Mr. John Dounce was an old boy of the latter class (we 
don't mean immortal, but steady), a retired gloye and braces 
maker, a widower, resident with three daughters — all grown 
up, and all unmarried — in Cursitor-street, Chanoery-lane. 
He was a short, round, large faced, tubbish sort of man, with 
a broad-bnmmed hat, and a square coat ; and had that grave, 
but confident, kind of roU, peculiar to old boys in general. 
Regular as clock-work — ^breakfast at nine — dress and tittivate 
a little — down to the Sir Somebody's Head — ^glass of ale and 
the paper-— come back again, and take daughters out for a 
walk — dinner at three — glass of grog and pipe — ^nap — ^tea — 
little walk — Sir Somebody's Head again — capital house— 
delightM evenings. There were Mr. Harris the law-stationer, 
and Mr. Jennings, the robe-maker (two jolly young fellows 
like himself), and Jones, the barriister's derk — ^rum feUow 
that Jones — capital company — ^fiill of anecdote I^— and there 
they sat every night till just ten minutes before twelve, drink- 
ing their brandy-and-water, and smoking their pipes, and 
telling stories, and enjoying themselves wi^ a kind of solemn 
joviality particularly edifying. 

Sometimes Jones would propose a half-price visit to Drury 
Lane or Covent Garden, to see two acts of a five-act play, and 
a new farce, perhaps, or a ballet, on which occasions the 
whole four of them went together; none of your hurrying and 
nonsense, but having their brandy-and-water first, comfort- 
ably, and ordering a steak and some oysters for their supper 
against they came back, and then walking coolly into the pit, 
when the '' rush " had gone in, as all sensible people do, and 
did when Mr. Dounce was a young man, except when the 
celebrated Master Betty was at the height of his popularity, 
and then, sir, — then — Mr. Bounce perfectly well remembered 
getting a holiday fix)m business ; and going to the pit doors 
at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and waiting there, till six 
in the afternoon, with some sandwiches in a pocket-handker- 
chief and some wine in a phial ; and fainting after all, with 
the heat and fatigue before the play began; in which situation 



280 SKETCUES BY BOZ. 

he was lifted out of the pit, into one of .the dress boxes, sir, 
by five of the finest women of that day, sir, who compassion- 
ated his situation and administered restoratives, and sent a 
black servant, six foot high, in blue and silver livery, next 
morning with their compliments, and to know how he found 
himself, sir — ^by G — ! Between the acts Mr. Bounce and 
Mr. Harris, and Mr. Jennings, used to stand up, and look 
round the house, and Jones — knowing fellow that Jones — 
knew everybody, pointed out the fashionable and celebrated 
lady So-and-So in the boxes, at the mention of whose name 
Mr. Bounce, after brushing up his hair, and adjusting his 
neckerchief, would inspect the aforesaid lady So -and -So 
through an immense glass, and remark, either, that she was 
a ** fine woman — ^veiy fine woman, indeed," or that " there 
might be a little more of her,— eh, Jones ? " just as the case 
might happen to be. When the dancing began, John Bounce 
and the other old boys were particularly anxious to see what 
was going forward on the stage, and Jones — ^wicked dog that 
Jones — whispered little critical remarks into the ears of John 
Bounce, which John Bounce retailed to Mr. Harris, and Mr. 
Harris to Mr. Jennings ; and then they all four laughed, 
until the tears ran down, out of their eyes. 

"When the curtain feU, they walked back together, two and 
two, to the steaks and oysters ; and when they came to the 
second glass of brandy-and-water, Jones — ^hoaxing scamp, 
that Jones — ^used to recount how he had observed a lady in 
white feathers, in one of the pit boxes, gazing intently on Mr. 
Bounce ail the evening, and how he had caught Mr. Bounce, 
whenever he thought no one was looking at him, bestowing 
ardent looks of intense devotion on the lady in return ; on 
which Mr. Harris and Mr. Jennings used to laugh very 
heartily, and John Bounce more heartily than either of them, 
acknowledging, however, that the time had been when he 
might have done such things ; upon which Mr. Jones used to 
poke him in the ribs, and tell him he had been a sad dog in 
his time, which John Bounce, with chuckles confessed. And 
after Mr. Harris and Mr. Jennings had preferred their claims 
to the character of having been s€ul dogs too, they separated 
harmoniously, and trotted home. 

The decrees of Fate, and the means by which they are 
brought about, are mysterious and inscrutable. John Bounce 
had led this life for twenty years and upwards, without wish 



MISPLACED ATTACHMENT OF MJl. JOHN BOUNCE. 231 

for change, or care for variety, when his whole social system 
was suddenly upset, and turned completely topsy-turvy — ^not 
by an earthquake, or some other dreadful convulsion of nature, 
as the reader would be inclined to suppose, but by the simple 
agency of an oyster ; and thus it happened. 

Mr. John Doimce was returning one night from the Sir 
Somebody's Head, to his residence iip Cursitor-street — not 
tipsy, but rather excited, for it was Mr. Jennings's birthday, 
and they had had a brace of partridges for supper, and a 
brace of extra glasses afterwards, and Jones had been more 
than ordinarily amusing — ^when his eyes rested on a newly 
opened oyster-shop, on a magnificent scale, with natives laid; 
one deep, in circular marble basins in the windows, together 
with little round barrels of oysters directed to Lords and 
Baronets, and Colonels and Captains, in every part of the 
habitable globe. 

Behind the natives were the barrels, and behind the barrels 
was a young lady of about five-and-twenty, all in blue, and 
all alone — splendid creature, charming face, and lovely figure ! 
It is difficult to say whether Mr. John Bounce's red coun- 
tenance, iUumiuated as it was by the flickering gas-light in 
the window before which he paused, excited the lady's 
risibility, or whether a natural exuberance of animal spirits 
proved too much for that staidness of demeanour which the 
forms of society rather dictatorially prescribe. But certain it 
is, that the lady smiled ; then put her finger upon her Hp, 
with a striking recollection of what was due to herself; and 
finally retired, in oyster-like bashfiilness, to the very back of 
the counter. The s€ul-dog sort of feeling came otrongly upon 
John Bounce : he lingered — the lady in blue made no sign. 
He coughed — still she came not. He entered Uie shop. 

" Can you open me an oyster, my dear ? " said Mr. John 
Bounce. 

" Bare say I can, sir," replied the lady in blue, with 
playfulness. And Mr. John Bounce eat one oyster, and then 
looked at the young lady, and then eat another, and then 
squeezed the young lady's hand as she was opening the third, 
and so forth, until he had devoured a dozen of those at eight- 
pence in less than no time. 

" Can you open me half-a-dozen more, my dear ? " inquired 
Mr. John Bounce. 

'' I 'U see what I can do for you, sir/' replied the young 



382 S^BTCHES BY BOZ. 

lady in blue, eyen more bewitchinglj than before; and 
Mr. Jobn Dounce ate balf-a-dozen more of those at eight- 
pence. 

" You couldu't manage to get me a glass of brandy-and- 
water, my dear, I suppose ? '* said Mr. John Dounce, when 
he had finished the oysters ; in a tone which clearly implied 
his supposition that she could. 

" I 'U see, sir," said the young lady : and away she ran 
out of the shop, and down the street, her long auburn ringlets 
shaking in the wind in the most enchanting mamier ; and 
back she came again, tripping over the coal-ceUar lids like 
a whipping-top, with a tumbler of brandy-and-water, which 
Mr. John Dounce insisted on her taking a share of, aa it 
was regular ladies' grog — ^hot, strong, sweet, and plenty 
of it. 

So, the young lady sat down with Mr. John Dounce, in a 
little red box with a green curtain, and took a small sip of the 
brandy-and-water, and a small look at Mr. John Dounce, and 
then turned her head away, and went through yarious other 
serio-pantomimic fascinations which forcibly reminded Mr. 
John Dounce of the first time he courted his first wife, and 
which made him feel more affectionate than ever ; in pursu- 
ance of which affection, and actuated by which feeling, Mr. 
John Dounce soimded the young lady on her matrimonial 
engagements, when the young lady denied haying formed any 
such engagements at all — she couldn't abear the men, they 
were such deceivers; thereupon Mr. John Dounce inquired 
whether this sweeping condemnation was meant to include 
other than very young men ; on which the young lady blushed 
deeply — at least she turned away her head, and said Mr. John 
Dounce had made her blush, so of course she did blush — and 
Mr. John Dounce was a long time drinking the brandy-and- 
water; and, at last, John Dounce went home to bed, and 
dre€uned of his first wife, and his second wife, and the young 
lady, and partridges, and oysters, and brandy-and-wat^, and 
disinterested attachments. 

The next morning, John Dounce was rather feverish with 
the extra brandy-and-water of the previous night ; and partly 
in the hope of cooling himself with an oyster, and partly with 
the view of ascertaining whether he owed the young lady any 
thing, or not, went back to the oyster-shop. If the young 
lady had appeared beautiful by night, she was perfectly 



MISPLACED ATTACHMENT OP ME. JOHN DOQNCB. 238 

irresistible by day; and, from this time forward, a change 
came over the spirit of John Bounce's dream. He bought 
shirt-pins; wore a ring on his third finger; read poetry; 
bribed a cheap miniature-painter to perpetrate a faint resem- 
blance to a youthful face, with a curtain oyer his head, six 
large books in the background, and an open countiy in the 
distance (this he called his portrait) ; " went on " altogether 
in such an uproarious manner, that the three Miss Bounces 
went off on small pensions, he haying made the tenement in 
Corsitor-street too warm to contain them; and in short, 
comported and demeaned himself in eyeiy respect like an 
unmitigated old Saracen, as he was. 

As to his ancient friends, the other old boys, at the Sir 
Somebody's Head, he dropped off from them by gradual 
degrees : for, eyen when he did go there, Jones — ^vulgar fellow 
that Jones — ^persisted in asking " when it was to be ? '' and 
" whether he was to haye any gloyes ? " together with other 
inquiries of an equally offensiye nature : at which not only 
Harris laughed, but Jennings also ; so, he cut the two, alto- 
gether, and attached himself solely to the blue young lady at 
the smart oyster-shop. 

Now comes the moral of the story — for it has a moral after 
all. The last mentioned young lady, haying deriyed sufficient 
profit and emolument from John Boimce's attachment, not 
only refused, when mattefs came to a crisis, to take him for 
better for worse, but expressly declared, to use her own 
forcible words, that she " woulihi't haye him at no price ; " 
and John Bounce, haying lost his old friends, alienated his 
relations, and rendered himself ridiculous to eyerybody, made 
offers successiyely to a schoolmistress, a landlady, a feminine 
tobacconist, and a housekeeper; and, being directly rejected 
by each and eyery of them, was accepted by his cook, with 
whom he now liyes, a henpecked husband, a melancholy 
monument of antiqtiated misery, and a liying warning to all 
uxorious old boja. 



234 SEBTCHBS BT BOS. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE MISTAKEN ICLLINEIL ▲ TALE OT AMBITIOIT. 

Miss Amelia Mabtin was pale, tallish, thin, and two-and- 
thirty — ^what ill-natured people would call plain, and police 
reports interesting. She was a milliner and dressmaker, 
living on her business and not above it. If you had been a 
young lady in service, and had wanted Miss Martin, as a great 
many young ladies in service did, you would just have stepped 
up, in the evening, to number forty-seven, Drummond-street, 
George-street, Euston-square, and after casting your eye on a 
brass door-plate, one foot ten by one and a half, ornamented 
with a great brass knob at each of the four comers, and 
bearing the inscription '' Miss Martin ; millinery and dress- 
making, in all its branches ; '* you 'd just have knocked two 
loud knocks at the street-door ; and down would have come 
Miss Martin herself, in a merino gown of the newest fashion, 
black velvet bracelets on the genteelest principle, and other 
little elegances of the most approved description. 

If Miss Maxtia knew the young lady who called, or if the 
young lady who called had been recommended by any other 
young lady whom Miss Martin knew, Miss Martin would 
forthwith diow her up-stairs into the two pair front, and chat 
she would — so kind, and so comfortable — ^it really wasn't like 
a matter of business, she was so friendly; and, then Miss 
Martin, after contemplating the figure and general appearance 
of the yoimg lady in service with great apparent admiration, 
would say how weU she would look, to-be-sure, in a low dress 
with short sleeves: made very frdl in the skirts, with four 
tucks in the bottom; to which the young lady in service 
would reply in terms expressive of her entire concurrence in 
the notion, and of the virtuous indignation with which she 
reflected on the tyranny of " Missis," who wouldn't allow a 
young girl to wear a short sleeve of an artemoon — ^no, nor 
nothing smart, not even a pair of ear-rings ; let alone hiding 
people's heads of hair imder them frightful caps. At the 
termination of this complaint. Miss Amelia Martin would 
distantly suggest certain dark suspicions that some people 



THE MISTAKEN MILLINER. 285 

were jealous on account of their own daughters, and were 
obliged to keep their servants' charms under, for fear they 
should get married first, which was no uncommon circum- 
stance — ^leastways she had known two or three young ladies 
in service, who had married a great deal better than their 
mississes, and they were not very good-looking either; and 
then the young lady would inform Miss Martin, in confidence, 
that how one of their young Iculies was engaged to a young 
man and was a-going to be married, and Missis was so proud 
about it there was no bearing of her ; but how she needn't 
hold her head quite so high neither, for, after all, he was only 
a clerk. And, after expressing due contempt for clerks in 
general, and the engaged clerk in particular, and the highest 
opinion possible of themselves and each oUier, Miss Martin 
and the young lady in service would bid each other good 
night, in a friendly but perfectly genteel manner : and the 
one went back to her " place," and the other, to her room on 
the second-floor jfront. 

There is no sayibg how long Miss Amelia Martin might 
have continued this course of life ; how extensive a connexion 
she might have established among young ladies in service ; or 
what amount her demands upon their quarterly receipts might 
have ultimately attained, had not an "unforeseen train of cir- 
cumstances directed her thoughts to a sphere of action very 
different from dressmaking or millinery. 

A friend of Miss Martin's who had long been keeping 
company with an ornamental painter and decorator's journey- 
man, at last consented (on being at last asked to do so) to 
name the day which would make the aforesaid journeyman a 
happy husband. It was a Monday that was appointed for the 
celebration of the nuptials, and Miss Amelia Martin was 
invited, among others, to honour the wedding-dinner with her 
presence. It was a charming party; Somers' town the 
locality, and a front parlour the apartment. The ornamental 
painter and decorator's journeyman, had taken a house — ^no 
lodgings nor vulgarity of that kind, but a house — ^four beau- 
tiful ro6ms, and a deUghtM little washhouse at the end of the 
passage — ^which was the most convenient thing in the world, 
for the bridesmaids could sit in the front parlour and receive 
the company, and then run into the little washhouse and see 
how the pudding and boiled pork were getting on in the 
copper, and then pop back into the parlour again, as snug and 



286 SKETCHES BT 60Z. 

comfortable as possible. And such a parlour as it was ! 
Beautiful Kidderminster carpet — six bran-new cane-bottomed 
stained chairs — ^three wine-glasses and a tumbler on each 
sideboard — ^£SEuiner's girl and farmer's boy on the mantelpiece: 
girl tumbling over a stile, and boy spitting himself, on the 
handle of a pitchfork — ^long white dimity curtains in the 
window — and, in short, eveiy thing on the most genteel scale 
imaginable. 

Then, the dinner. There was baked leg of mutton at the 
top, boiled leg of mutton at the bottom, pair of fowls and leg 
of pork in the middle; porter-pots at the comers; pepper^ 
mustard, and vinegar in the centre ; vegetables on the floor ; 
and plum-pudding and apple-pie and tartlets without number : 
to say nothing of cheese, and celery, and water-cresses, and all 
that sort of thing. As to the company ! Miss Amelia Martin 
herself declared, on a subsequent occasion, that, much as she 
had heard of the ornamental painter's journeyman's con- 
nexion, she never could have supposed it was half so genteel 
There was his father, such a funny old gentleman — and his 
mother, such a dear old lady — and his sister, such a chaxming 
girl — and his brother, such a manly-looking young man — 
with such a eye ! But even aU these were as nothing when 
compared with his musical Mends, Mr. and Mrs. Jennings 
Rodolph, from White Conduit, with whom the ornamental 
painter's journeyman had been fortunate enough to contract 
an intimacy while engaged in decorating the concert-room of 
that noble institution. To hear them sing separately, was 
divine, but when they went through the tragic duet of *' Red 
Ruffian, retire ! " it was, as Miss Martin afterwards remarked, 
'* thrilling." And why (as Mr. Jennings Rodolph observed) 
why were they not engaged at one of the patent theatres ? 
If he was to be told that their voices were not powerful 
enough to fill the House, his only reply was, that he would 
back himself for any amount to fill Russell-square— a state- 
ment in which the company, after hearing the duet, expressed 
their full belief; so they all said it was shameful treatment ; 
and both Mr. and Mrs. Jennings Rodolph said it was shameful 
too ; and Mr. Jennings Rodolph looked very serious, and said 
he knew who his malignant opponents were, but they had 
better take care how far they went, for if they irritated him 
too much he had not quite made up his mind whether he 
wouldn't bring the subject before Parliament; and they aU 



THB MISTAKEN MILLINBR. 237 

agreed that it " *ud serve 'em quite right, and it was very 
proper that such people should be made an example of." So 
Mr. Jennings Rodolph said he 'd think of it. 

When the conversation resumed its former tone, Mr 
Jennings Rodolph claimed his right to caU upon a lady, and 
the right being conceded, trusted Miss Martin would fSavour 
the company — a proposal which met with unanimous appro- 
bation, whereupon Miss Martin, after sundry hesitatings and 
ooughings, with a preparatoiy choke or two, and an intro- 
ductory declaration that she was frightened to death to attempt 
it before such great judges of the art, commenced a species of 
treble chirruping containing frequently allusions to some 
young gentleman of the name of Hen-e-iy, with an occasional 
reference' to madness and broken hesurts. Mr. Jennings 
Rodolph frequently interrupted the progress of the song, by 
ejaculating " Beautiful ! "— " Charming ! "— " Brilliant ! "— 
" Oh ! splendid," &c. ; and at its dose the admiration of 
himself, and his lady, knew no bounds. 

" Did you ever hear so sweet a voice, my dear ? " inquired 
Mr. Jennings Rodolph of Mrs. Jennings Rodolph. 

''Never; indeed I never did, love; " replied Mrs. Jennings 
Rodolph. 

" Don't you think Miss Martin, with a little cultivation, 
would be very like Signora Marra Boni, my dear ? " asked 
Mr. Jennings Rodolph. 

''Just exactly the very thing that struck me, my love," 
answered Mrs. Jennings Rodolph. 

And thus the time passed away; Mr. Jennings Rodolph 
played tunes on a walking-stick, and then went behind the 
parlour-door and gave his celebrated imitations of actors, 
edge-tools, and animals ; Miss Martin sang several other songs 
with increased admiration every time; and even the fimny 
old gentleman began singing. His song had properly seven 
verses, but as he couldn't recollect more than the first one he 
sang tiiat over, seven times, apparently veiy much to hijB own 
personal gratification. And then all the company sang the 
national anthem with national independence — each for him- 
self, without reference to the other — and finally separated : 
all declaring that they never had spent so pleasant an evening: 
and Miss Martin inwardly resolving to adopt the advice of 
Mr. Jennings Rodolph, and to " come out" without delay. 

Now " coming out," either in acting, or singing, or society, 



238 SKETCHES BY 60Z. 

or faoetioiifimess, or onj thing else, is all very well, and 
remarkably pleasant to tlie indiyidnal principally concerned, 
if he or ^e can but manage to come out with a burst, and 
being out, to keep out, and not go in again ; but, it does 
unfortunately happen that both consummations are extremely 
difficult to accomplish, and that the difficulties, of getting out 
at all in the first instance, and if you surmount them, of 
keeping out in the second, are pretty much on a par, and no 
slight ones either — and so Miss Amelia' Martin shortly dis- 
covered. It is a singular fact (there being ladies in the case) 
that Miss Amelia Martin's principal foible was vanity, and the 
leading characteristic of Mrs. Jennings Rodolph an attach- 
ment to dress. Dismal wailings were heard to issue from the 
second floor front, of number forty-seven, Drummond-street, 
George-street, Euston-square ; it waa Miss Martin practising. 
Half-suppressed murmurs disturbed the calm dignity of the 
White Conduit orchestra at the commencement of the season. 
It was the appearance of Mrs. Jennings Rodolph in frdl dress, 
that occasioned them. Miss Martin studied incessantly — the 
practising was the consequence. Mrs. Jennings Rodolph taught 
gratuitously now and then — ^the dresses were the result. 

Weeks passed away ; the White Conduit season had began, 
had progressed, and was more than half over. The dross- 
making business had fallen off, from neglect ; and its profits 
had dwindled away almost imperceptibly. A benefit-night 
approached; Mr. Jennings Rodolph yielded to the earnest 
solicitations of Miss Amelia Martin, and introduced her per- 
sonally to the " comic gentleman " whose benefit it waa. The 
comic gentleman was all smiles and blandness — ^he had com- 
posed a duet, expressly for the occasion, and Miss Martin 
should sing it with him. The night arrived ; there was an 
immense room — ^ninety-seven sixpenn'orths of gin-and- water, 
thirty-two small glasses of brandy-and -water, five-and-twenty 
bottled ales, and forty-one neguses ; and the ornamental 
painter's journeyman, with his wife and a select circle of 
acquaintance, were seated at one of the side-tables near the 
orchestra. The concert began. Song — sentimental — ^by a 
light-haired young gentleman in a blue coat, and bright 
basket buttons [applause]. Another song, doubtful, by another 
gentleman in another blue coat and more bright basket buttons 
— [increased applause]. Duet, Mr. Jennings Rodolph, and 
Mrs. Jennings Rodolph, "Red Ruffian, retire!" — [great 



THB MISTAKEN HILLINEE. S39 

applause]. Solo, Miss Julia Montague (positiyelj on this 
occasion only) — ** I am a Friar" — [enthusiasm]. Original 
duet, comic — ^Mr. H. Taplin (the comic gentleman) and Miss 
Martin—" The Time of Day." " Brayyo !— Brayyo ! " cried 
the ornamental painter's journeyman's party, as Miss Martin 
was gracefdUy led in by the comic gentleman. " Go to work, 
Harry," cried the comic gentleman's personal £riends. " Tap 
— ^tap— tap," went the leader's bow on the music-desk. The 
symphony began, and was soon a^rwards followed by a faint 
Idnd of yentriloquial chirping, proceeding apparently from, the 
deepest recesses of the interior of Miss Amelia Martin. " Sing 
out " — shouted one gentleman in a white great-coat. " Don't 
be a&aid to put the steam on, old gal," exclaimed another. 
"S— -s — s — s — s — B — s" — ^went tbe five-and-twenty bottled 
ales. " Shame, shame ! " remonstrated the ornamental painter's 
journeyman's party — "S — s — s — s" went the bottled ales 
again, accompanied by aU the gins, and a majority of the 
brandies. 

''Turn them geese out," cried the ornamental painter's 
journeyman's party, with great indignation. 
'* Sing out," whispered Mr. Jennings Rodolph. 
" So I do," responded Miss Amelia Martin. 
** Sing louder," said Mrs. Jennings Rodolph. 
" I oan't," replied Miss Amelia Martin. 
" Off, off, off," cried the rest of the audience. 
" Bray-vo ! " shouted the painter's party. It wouldn't do- 
Miss Amelia Martin lefb the orchestra, with much less cere- 
mony than she had entered it ; and, as she couldn't sing out, 
never came out. The general good humour was not restored 
until Mr. Jennings Rodolph had become purple in the face, 
by imitating divers quadrupeds for half an hour, without 
being able to render himself audible ; and, to this day, neither 
has Miss Amelia Martin's good humour been restored, nor 
the dresses made for and presented to Mrs. Jennings Rodolph, 
nor the vocal abilities which Mr. Jennings Rodolph once 
staked his professional reputation that Miss Martin possessed. 



240 8EETGHBS BT BOZ. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE DAKOINO ACADEMY 

Of all the dancing academies that ever were established, 
there never was one more popular in its immediate vicinity 
than Signor Billsmethi's, of the "King's Theatre." It was 
not in Spring-gardens, or Newman-street, or Bemers-street, or 
Grower-street, or Charlotte-street, or Percy-street, or any other 
of the numerous streets which have been devoted time out of 
mind to professional people, dispensaries, and boarding-houses ; 
it was not in the West-end at all — ^it rather approximated to 
the eastern portion of London, being situated in the populotis 
and improving neighbourhood of Gray's-inn-lane. It was not 
a dear dancing academy — four-and-sixpence a quarter is 
decidedly cheap upon the whole. It was very select, the 
number of pupils being strictly limited to seventy-five, and a 
quarter's payment in advance being rigidly exacted. There 
was public tuition and private tuition — an assembly-room and 
a parlotir. Signor BiUsmethi's family were always thrown in 
with the parlour, and included in parlour priqe ; that is to 
say, a private pupil had Signor Billsmethi's parlour to dance 
in, and Signor BiUsmethi's family to dance wWi ; and when he 
had been sufficiently broken in in the parlour, he began to 
run in couples in the Assembly-room. 

Such was the dancing academy of Signor Billsmethi, when 
Mr. Augustus Cooper, of Fetter-lane, first saw an unstamped 
advertisement walking leisurely down Holbom-hill, amioundng 
to the world that Signor Billsmethi, of the King's Theatre, 
intended opening for the season with a Grand Ball. 

Now, Mr. Augustus Cooper was in the oil and colour line — 
just of age, with a little money, a little business, and a little 
mother, who having managed her husband and his business in 
his lifetime took to managing her son and Au business after 
his decease ; and so, somehow or other, he had been cooped 
up in the Uttle back parloui; behind the shop on week days, 
and in a little deal box without a lid (called by courtesy a 
pew) at Bethel Chapel, on Sundays, and had seen no more of 
the world than if he had been an infant all his days ; whereas 







' '^^fi'i U*f . 'A*// #■'./ 



.^ 



THE DANCma AGADBMT. 241 

Young White, at the Gas-fitter's over the way, three years 
younger than him, had been flaring away like winkin' — agoing 
to the theatre — supping at harmonic meetings — eating oysters 
by the barrel — drinking stout by the gallon — even stopping 
out all night, and coming home as cool in the morning as if 
nothing had happened. So Mr. Augustus Cooper made up 
his mind that he would not stand it any longer, and had that 
very morning expressed to his mother a firm determination to 
be '' blowed," in the event of his not being instantly provided 
with a street-door key. And he was walHng down Holbom- 
hill, thinkJTig about aU these things, and wonderiog how he 
could manage to get introduced into genteel society for the 
first time, when his eyes rested on Signer BiUsmethi's annoimce- 
menty which it immediately struck him was just the very 
thing he wanted ; for he should not only be able to select a 
genteel circle of acquaintance at once, out of the five-and- 
seveniy pupils at four-and-sixpence a quarter, but should 
qualify himself at the same time to go through a hornpipe in 
private society, with perfect ease to himself, and great delight 
to his firiends. So, he stopped the unstamped advertisement 
' — an animated sandwich, composed of a boy between two 
boards — and having procured a very small card with the 
Signer's address indented thereon, walked straight at once to 
the Signer's house — and veiy fast he walked too, for fear the 
list should be filled up, and the five-and-seventy completed, 
before he got there. The Signer was at home, and, what was 
stOl more gratifying, he was an Englishman ! Such a nice 
man — and so polite ! The list was not full, but it was a most 
extraordinary circumstance that there was only just one 
vacancy, and even that one would have been filled up, that 
veiy morning, only Signer Billsmethi was dissatisfied with the 
reference, and, being veiy much afraid that the lady wasn't 
select, wouldn't take her. 

" And very much delighted I am, Mr. Cooper," said Signer 
BiUsmethi, *' that I did not take her. I assure you, Mr. Cooper 
— I don't say it to flatter you, for I know you 're above it — 
that I consider myself extremely fortunate in having a gentle- 
man of your manners and appearance, sir." 

'' I am very glad of it too, sir," said Augustus Cooper. 

''And I hope we shall be better acquainted, sir," said 
Signer Billsmethi. 

"And I'm sure I hope we shall too, sir," responded 

a 



242 SKBTGHSS BY BOZ. 

Augnfitos Cooper. Just then, the door opened, and in came a 
young lady, with her hair ourled in a crop all over her heed, 
and her shoes tied in sandals all over her ankles. 

"Don't run away, my dear," said Signer Billsmethi ; for 
&6 young lady didn't know Mr. Cooper was there wheoa she 
ran in, and was going to run out again in her modeBty, 
all in conftision-like. "Don't run away, my dear," said 
Signer Billsmethi, " this is Mr. Cooper — ^Mr. Cooper, of Fetter- 
lane. Mr. Cooper, my daughter, sir — Miss Billsmethi, sir, 
who I hope will haye the pleasure of dancing many a quadrille, 
minuet, gayotte, country-dance, fandango, double>hompipe, 
dnd &rinagholkajingo with you, sir. She dances them all, 
sir ; and so shall you sir before you 're a quarter older, sir.'* 

And Signer Billsmethi slapped Mr. Augfustus Cooper on 
the back, as if he had known him a dozen years, — so friendly ; 
— ^and Mr. Cooper bowed to the young lady, and the young 
lady curtseyed to him, and Signer Billsmethi said they were 
^ hcmdsome a pair as ever he 'd wish to see ; upon which Hie 
young lady exclaimed, " Lor, pa ! " and blushed as red as Mr. 
Cooper himself — you might ha^e thought they were bo& 
standing under a red lamp at a chemist's shop ; and before 
Mr. Cooper went away it was settled that he should join Uie 
femily circle that very night — ^taking them just as they were 
—no ceremony nor nonsense of that kind — and learn his 
positions, in order that he might lose no time, and be able to 
come out at the forthcoming ball. 

Well ; Mr. Augustus Cooper went away to one of the cheap 
shoemakers' shops in Holbom, where gentlemen's dress-pumps 
are seyen-and-sixpence, and men's strong walking just nothing 
at all, and bought a pair of the regular seyen-and-sixpenny, 
long-quartered, town mades, in which he astonished himflrif 
quite as much as his mother, and sallied forth to Signor 
BHlsmethi's. There were fotir other private pupils in the 
pariour : two ladies and two gentlemen. Such nice people ! 
Not a bit of pride about them. One of the ladies in particular, 
who was in training for a Columbine, was remarkably afGable ; 
and she and Miss Billsmethi took such an interest in Mr. 
Augustus Cooper, and joked and smiled, and looked so be- 
witching, that he got quite at home, and learnt his steps in 
no time. After the practising was oyer, Signor Billflmethiy 
and Miss Billsmethi, and Master Billsmethi, and a young lady, 
and the two ladies, and the two gentlemen, danced a quadrille 



THE DANCING ACADBMT. 248 

— ^none of your slipping and sliding about, but regular warm 
work, flying into comers, and diving among chairs, and 
shooting out at the door, — something like dancing! Signer 
BiUsmethi in particular, notwithistanding his having a HttLe 
fiddle to play all the time, was out on the landing every 
figure, and Master BiUsmethi, when every body else wa8 
breathless, danced a hornpipe, with a cane in his hand, and a 
cheese-plate on his head, to the unqualified admiration of the 
whole company. Then, Signor BiUsmethi insisted as they 
were so happy, that they should aU stay to supper, and 
proposed sending Master BiUsmethi for the beer and spirits, 
whereupon the two gentlemen swore, " strike 'em wulgax if 
they'd stand that;" and were just going to quarrel who 
should pay for it, when Mr. Augustus Cooper said he would, 
if they 'd have the kindness to aUow him — and they had the 
kindness to allow him; and Master BiUsmethi brought the 
beer in a can, and the rum in a quart-pot. They had a 
regular night of it ; and Miss BiUsmethi sque^sed Mr. 
Augustas Cooper's hand under the table; and Mr. Augustas 
Cooper returned the squeeze and returned home too, at some- 
thing to six o'clock in the morning, when he was put to bed 
by main force by the apprentice, after repeatedly eaipressing 
an uncontrollable desire to pitch his revered parent out of the 
second-floor window, and to throttle the apprentice with his 
own neck-handkerchief. 

Weeks had worn on, and the seven-and-sixpenny town- 
mades had nearly worn out, when the night arrived for the 
grand dress-baU at which the whole of the five-and-seventy 
pupils were to meet together, for the first time that season, 
and to take out some portion of their respective four-and-six- 
pences in lamp-oil and fiddlers. Mr. Augustus Cooper had 
ordered a new coat for the occasion — a two-pound-tenner firan 
Turnstile. It was his first appearance in public ; and, after 
a grand Sicilian shawl-dance by fourteen young ladies in 
character, he was to open the quadriUe department with Miss 
BiUsmethi herself, witibi whom he had become quite intimate 
since his first introduction. It was a night ! Every thing was 
admirably arranged. The sandwich-boy took the hats and 
bonnets at the street-door ; there was a turn-up bedstead in 
the back parlour, on which Miss BiUsmethi made tea and 
coffee for such of the gentlemen as chose to pay for it, and 
sofih of the ladies as the gentlemen treated ; red port-wine 

&2 



244 SERTCHE3 BT BOZ. 

negus and lemonade were handed round at eighteen-pence a 
head ; and in pursuance of a previous engagement with the 
public-house at the comer of the street, an extra pot-boT 
was laid on for the occasion. In short, nothing could exceed 
the arrangements, except the company. Such ladies ! Such 
pink silk stockings ! Such artificial flowers ! Such a number 
of cabs ! No sooner had one cab set down a couple of ladies, 
than another cab drove up and set down another couple of 
ladies, and they all knew: not only one another, but the 
majority of the gentlemen into the bargain, which made it all 
as pleasant and lively as could be. Signer BiUsmethi, in 
black tights, with a lai^ blue bow in his buttonhole, 
introduced the ladies to such of the gentlemen as were 
strangers : and the ladies talked away — and laughed they did 
— it was delightful to see them. 

As to the shawl-dance, it was the most exciting thing that 
ever was beheld ; there was such a whisking, and rustling, 
and fanning, and getting ladies into a tangle with artificial 
flowers, and then disentangling them again ! And as to Mr. 
Augustus Coox>er's share in the quadrille, he got through it 
admirably. He was missing from his partner, now and then, 
certainly, and discovered on such occasions to be either 
dancing with laudable perseverance in another set, or sliding 
about in perspective, without any definite object; but generally 
speaking, they managed to shove him through Ihe figure, until 
he turned up in the right place. Be this as it may, when he 
had finished, a great many ladies and gentlemen came up and 
complimented him very much, and said they had never seen a 
beginner do an3rthing like it before; and Mr. Augustus 
Cooper was perfectly satisfied with himself, and every body 
else into the bargain ; and ** stood " considerable quantities of 
spirits-and-water, negus, and compounds, for the use and 
behoof of two or three dozen very particular friends, selected 
from the select circle of five-and-seventy pupils. 

Now, whether it was the strength of the compounds, or the 
beauty of the ladies, or what not, it did so happen that Mr. 
Augustus Cooper encouraged, rather than repelled, the veiy 
flattering attentions of a young lady in brown gauze over 
white calico who had appeared particularly struck iwith him 
from the first ; and when the encouragements had been pro- 
longed for some time. Miss BiUsmethi betrayed her spite and 
jealousy thereat by calling the young lady in brown gauze a 



TIIE DANCINa AGADBMY. 245 

" creeter/' which induced the young lady in brown gauze to 
retort, in certain sentences containing a taunt founded on the 
payment of four-and-sixpence a quarter, which reference Mr. 
Augustus Cooper, being then and there in a state of consider- 
able bewilderment, expressed his entire concurrence in. Miss 
BLUsmethi, thus renounced, forthwith began screaming in the 
loudest key of her voice, at the rate of fourteen screams a 
minute ; and being unsuccessful, in an onslaught on the eyes 
and face, first of the lady in gauze and then of Mr. Augustus 
Cooper, called distractedly on the other three-and-seventy 
pupils to ftimish her with oxalic acid for her own private 
drinking; and, the call not being honoured, made another 
rush at Mr. Cooper, and then had her stay-lace cut, and was 
carried off to bed. Mr. Augustus Cooper, not being remark- 
able for quickness of apprehension, was at a loss to understand 
what all this meant, until Signor Billsmethi explained it in a 
most satisfactory manner, by stating to the pupils that Mr. 
Augustus Cooper had made and confirmed divers promises of 
marriage to his daughter on divers occasions, and had now 
basely deserted her ; on which, the indignation of the pupils 
became universal; and as several chivalrous gentlemen 
inquired rather pressingly of Mr. Augustus Cooper, whether 
lie required anything for his own use, or, in other words, 
whether he '< wanted any thing for himself,'' he deemed it 
prudent to make a precipitate retreat. And the upshot of the 
matter was, that a lawyer's letter came next day, and an 
action was commenced next week; and that Mr. Augustas 
Cooper, after walking twice to the Serpentine for the piirpose 
of drowning himself, and coming twice back without doing it, 
made a confidante of his mother, who compromised the matter 
with twenty pounds from the till : which made twenty pounds 
four shillings and sixpence paid to Signor Billsmethi, exclusive 
of treats and pumps. And Mr. Augustus Cooper went back 
and lived with his mother, and there he lives to this day ; 
and as he has lost his ambition for society, and never goes 
into the world, he will never see this aooount of himself, and 
will never be any the wiser. 



2i6 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 



CHAPTER X. 

8RABBT-GENTBSL PEOPLE. 

These are certain descriptionfl of people who, oddly 
enough, appear to appertain exdusirely to the metropolis. 
You meet ^em, every day, in the streets of London, but no 
one ever encounters them elsewhere ; they seem indigenous to 
the soil, and to belong as exclusively to London as its own 
smoke, or the dingy bricks and mortar. We could illustrate 
the remark by a variety of examples, but, in our present 
sketch, we will only adv^ to one dass as a specimen — ^that 
class which is so aptly and expreaaively designated as 
*' shabby-genteel." 

Now, shabby people, God knows, may be found any whero, 
and genteel people are not articles of greater scarcity out of 
London than in it; but this compound of the two — this 
shabby-gentility — la as purely local as the statue at Charing- 
cross, or the pump at Aldgate. It is worthy of remark, too, 
that only men are shabby-genteel ; a woman is always either 
dirty and slovenly in the extreme, or neat and respectable, 
however poverty-stricken in appearance. A very poor man, 
*' who has seen better days," as the phrase goes, is a strange 
compound of dirty slovenliness and wretched attempts at faded 
smartness. 

We will endeavour to explain our conception of the term 
which forms the title of this paper. If you meet a man, 
loimging up Drury-lane, or leaning with his back against a 
post in Long-acre, with his hands in the pockets of a pair of 
drab trousers plentiftdly besprinkled with grease-spots : the 
trousers made very fail over the boots, and ornamented with 
two cords down the outside of each leg — ^wearing, also, what 
has been a brown coat with bright buttons, and a hat very 
much pinched up at the sides, cocked over his right eye — 
don't pity him. He is not shabby-genteel. The " hannomc 
meetings " at some fourth-rate pubHc house, or the purlieus 
of a private theatre, are his chosen haunts ; he entertains a 
rooted antipathy to any kind of work, and is on familiar terms 
with several pantomime men at the large houses. But, if you 



SHABBY-GBNTBBL PBOFLE. £47 

flee huTiTing along a bye-street, keeping as dose as lie can to 
the area-railings, a man of about forty or fifty, dad in an old 
rusty suit of threadbare blabk doth wlddi shines with constant 
wear as if it had been beea-waxed — the trousers tightly 
strapped down, partly for the look of the thing and partly to 
keep his old slioes firom slipping off at the heels, — if you 
observe, too, that his yellowish-white nedcerchief is carefully 
pinned up, to conceal the tattered garment underneath, and 
that his hands are encased in the remains of an old pair of 
beaver gloves, you may set him down as a shabby-genteel man. 
A glance at that depressed face, and timorous air of consdous 
.poverty, will make your heart ache — ^always supposing tiiat 
you are neither a philosopher nor a political economist. 

We were once haunted by a diabby-gented man ; he was 
bodily present to oxa senses all day, and he was in our mind's 
«ye all night. The man of wbom Sir Walter Scott speaks in 
his Demonology, did not suffer balf the persecution from his 
imaginary gentleman-usher in black vdvet, that we sustained 
from our friend in quondam blaok doth. He first attracted 
our notice, by sitting opposite to us in the reading-room at 
the British Museum ; and what made the man more remark* 
able was, that he always had before him a couple of shabby- 
genteel books — two old dogs-eared folios, in mouldy worm- 
eaten covers, whidi had once been smart. He was in his 
chair, every morning, just as the dock strudc ten; he was 
always the last to leave the room in the afternoon ; and when 
he did, he quitted it with the air of a man who knew not 
wkere else to go, for warmth and quiet. There he used to sit 
all day, as dose to the table as possible, in order to conceal 
the lade of buttons on his coat : wiiii his old hat carefully 
deposited at his feet, where he evidently fiattered himself it 
escaped observation. 

About two o'dock, you would see him munching a French 
roll or a penny loaf; not taking it boldly out of his podcet at 
once, like a man who knew he was only making a lunch ; but 
breaking off little bits in. his pocket, and eating them by 
stealth. He knew too well it was his dinner. 

Wben we first saw this poor object, we thought it quite 
impossible that his attire could ever become worse. We even 
went so far, as to speculate on the possibility of Ms shortly 
appearing in a decent second-hand suit. We knew nothing 
about the matter ; ho grew more and more shabby-gented 



£48 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

every day. The buttons dropped off his waistcoat, one by 
one ; then^ he buttoned his coat ; and when one side of the 
coat was reduced to the same condition as the waistcoat, he 
buttx)ned it over on the other side. He looked somewhat 
better at the beginning of the week than at the conclusion, 
because the neckerchief, though yeUow, was not quite so 
dingy ; and, in the midst of all this wretchedness, he never 
appeared without gloves and straps. He remained in this 
state for a week or two. At length, one of the buttons on 
the back of the coat fell off, and then the man himself dis- 
appeared, and we thought he was dead. 

We were sitting at the same table about a week after his 
disappearance, and as our eyes rested on his vacant chair, 
we insensibly fell into a train of meditation on the subject of 
his retirement from public life. We were wondering whether 
he had hung himself, or thrown himself off a bridge — ^whether 
he really was dead or had only been arrested — ^when our con- 
jectures were suddenly set at rest by the entry of the man 
himself. He had undergone some strange metamoi^phosis, 
and walked up the centre of the room with an air which 
showed he was fully conscious of the improvement in his 
appearance. It was very odd. His clothes were a fine, deep, 
glossy black ; and yet they looked like the same suit ; nay, 
there were the veiy dams with which old acquaintance had 
made us familiar. The hat, too— nobody could mistake the 
shape of that hat, with its high crown gradually increasing in 
circumference towards the top. Long service had imparted 
to it a reddish-brown tint ; but, now, it was as black as the 
coat. The truth flashed suddenly tfpon us — ^they had been 
"revived." It is a deceitful liquid that black and blue 
reviver; we have watched its effects on many a shabby-genteel 
man. It betrays its victims into a temporary assumption of 
importance : possibly into the purchase of a new pair of 
gloves, or a cheap stock, or some other trifling article of dress. 
It elevates their spirits for a week, only to depress them, if 
possible, below their original level. It was so in this case ; 
the transient dignity of the unhappy man decreased, in exact 
proportion as the " reviver " wore off. The knees of the un- 
mentionables, and the elbows of the coat, and the seams 
generally, soon began to get alarmingly white. The hat was 
once more deposited under the table, and its owner crept into 
his seat as quietly as ever. 



SHABBY-GBNTBEL PEOPLE. ^iO 

There was a week of incessoQt small rain and mist. At its 
expiration the " reviver " had entirely vanished, and the 
shabby-genteel man never afterwards attempted to effect any 
improvement in his outward appearance. 

It would be difficult to name any particular part of town as 
the principal resort of shabby-genteel men. We have met a 
great many persons of this description in the neighbourhood 
of the inns of court. They may be met with, in Holborn, 
between eight and ten any morning ; and whoever has the 
curiosity to enter the Insolvent Debtors* Court will observe, 
both among spectators and practitioners, a great variety of 
them. We never went on 'Change, by any chance, without 
seeing some shabby-genteel men, and we have often wondered 
what earthly business they can have there. They will sit 
there, for hours, leaning on great, dropsical, mildewed um- 
brellas, or eating Abemethy biscuits. Nobody speaks to 
them, nor they to any one. On consideration, we remember 
to have occasionally seen two shabby-genteel men conversing 
together on 'Change, but our experience assures us that this 
is an imcommon circumstance, occasioned by the offer of a 
pinch of snuff, or some such civility. 

It would be a task of equal dijfficulty, either to assign any 
particular spot for the residence of these beings, or to endea- 
vour to enumerate their general occupations. We were never 
engaged in business with more than one shabby-genteel man ; 
and he was a drunken engraver, and lived in a damp back- 
parlour in a new row of houses at Camden-town, half street, 
half brick-ffeld, somewhere near the canal. A shabby-genteel 
man may have no occupation, or he may be a com agent, or 
a coal agent, or a wine agent, or a collector of debts, or a 
broker's assistctnt, or a broken-down attorney. He may be a 
derk of the lowest description, or a contributor to the press of 
the same grade. Whe&er our readers have noticed these 
men, in their walks, as often as we have, we know not ; this 
we know — that the miserably poor man (no matter whether 
he owes his distresses to his own conduct, or that of others) 
who feels his poverty and vainly strives to conceal it, is one 
of the most pitiable objects in human nature. Such objects, 
with few exceptions, are shabby-genteel people. 



250 SEBTCHBS BT BOZ. 



C3HAPTEE 31. 

MAKING A iriGHT 07 H. 

Damok and F^hias 'were imdoubtedly yezy good fellowB in 
their way: the former for his extreme readiness to put in 
special bail for a friend : and the latter for a certain trump- 
like punctuality in taming up just in the vezy nick of time, 
scarcely less remarkable. Many points in their character 
have, however, grown obsolete. Damons are rather hard to 
find, in these days of imtprisonment for debt (except the Aaan. 
ones, and they cost half-^a-erown); and, as to the PythiaaeB, 
the few that have existed in these degenerate times, hare had 
an unfortunate knaxk. of making themselves scarce, at the 
veiy moment when their appearance would have been etoiotfy 
dassical. If the actions of these heroes, however, can find no 
parallel in modem times, their 6iendship can. We have 
Damon and Pythias on the one hand. We have Potter and 
Smithers on the other; and, lest the two last-mentioned 
names should never have reached the ears of our nnenKglrt- 
ened xeaderis, we can do no better than make thlttn aoqnainted 
with the owners thereof. 

Mr. Thomas Potter, then, was a clerk in the city, and Mr. 
Bobert Smithers was a ditto in the same ; their incomes were 
limited, but their friendship was imbounded. They lived in 
the same street, walked into town every morning at the same 
hour, dined at the same slap-bang every day, and revelled- in 
each other's company eveiy night. They were knit together 
by the closest ties of intimacy and friendship, or, as Mr. 
lliomas Potter touchingly observed, they were "thick-and- 
thin pals, and nothing but it." There was a spice of romanee 
in Mr. Smithers's disposition, a ray of poetry, a gleam of 
misery, a sort of consciousness of he didn't exactly know what, 
coming across him he didn't precisely know why — ^which 
stood out in fine relief against the off-hand, dashing, amateur- 
pickpocket-sort-of-manner, which distinguished Mr. Potter in 
an eminent degree. 

The peculiariiy of their respective dispositions, extended 
itself to their individual costume. Mr. Smithers generally 



■i'^''ffiff^T.t;i:iMMMii 




•^=^^^ ^--^— -gttf^ gniufe.vh»nfrc '-"— 



■// ^ 1^ / ■' 



MAKING A mUET OF IT. 251 

appeared in pubHc in a surtout and skoes, with a narrow 
Uack neckerchief and a brown hat^ veiy much turned up at 
the sides — ^peculiarities which Mr. Potter wholly eschewed^ 
fat it was his ambition to do something in the celebrated 
''kiddy " or stageTCoach way, and he had even gone so far as 
to invest capital in the purchase of a rough blue coat with 
wooden buttons, made upon the £reman's principle, in which, 
with the addition of a low-crowned, flower-pot-saucer-shaped 
hat, he had created no inconsiderable sensation at the Albion 
in Little KusseU-street, and divers other places of public and 
fashionable resort. 

Mr. Potter and Mr. Smitibers had mutually agreed that, on 
the receipt of their quarter's salary, they would jointly and in 
company " spend the evening " — ^an evident misnomer — ^the 
spending applying, as everybody knows, not to tiie evening 
itself but to all the money the individual may chance to be 
possessed of^ on the occasion to which reference is made ; and 
they had likewise agreed thai, on the evening aforesaid, they 
would " make a night of it " — an expressive term, implying 
the borrowing of several hours from to-morrow morning, add- 
ing them to the night before, aAd manufactming a compoimd 
night of the whole. 

The quarter-day anived at last — we say at last, because 
quarter-days are as eccentric as comets : moving wonderfolly 
qoiok when you have a good deal to pay, and marvellously 
alow when you have a little to receive. Mr. Thomas Potter 
and Mr. Kobert Smithers met by appointment to begin the 
evening with a dinner ; and a nice, snug, comfortable dinner 
they had, consiRting of a little procession of four chops and 
four kidneys, following each other, supported on either side 
by a pot of the real draught stout, and attended by divers 
cushions of bread, and wedges of cheese. 

When the doth was removed, Mr. Thomas Potter ordered 
the waiter to bring in two goes of his best Scotch whiskey, 
with warm water and sugar, and a couple of his "very 
mildest" Havannahs, which the waiter did. Mr. Thomas 
Pottor mixed his grog, and lighted his cigar; Mr. Robert 
Smithers did the same ; and then, Mr. Thomas Potter jocu- 
larly proposed as the first toast, " the abolition of all offices 
whatever** (not sinecures, but counting-houses), which was 
immediately drunk by Mr. Robert Smithers with enthusiastic 
applause. So they went on, talking politics, puffing cigars 



252 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

and sipping whiskey-and- water, until the "goes" — most 
appropriately so called — ^were both gone, which Mr. Bobert 
Smithers perceiving, immediately ordered in two more goes 
of the best Scotch whiskey, and two more of the very mildest 
Havannahs; and the goes kept coming in, and the mild 
Hayannahs kept going out, until, what -ndth the drinking 
and lighting, and pui&ng, and the stale ashes on the table, 
and the tallow-grease on the cigars, Mr. Robert Smithers 
began to doubt the mildness of the Hayannahs, and to feel 
yery much as if he had been sitting in a hackney-coach with 
his back to the horses. 

As to Mr. Thomas Potter, Tie would keep laughing out loud, 
and yolunteering inarticulate declarations that he was ** al] 
right ; " in proof of which he feebly bespoke the eyening 
paper after the next gentleman, but finding it a matter of 
some difficulty to discover any news in its columns, or to 
ascertain distinctly whether it had any columns at aU, walked 
slowly out to look for the moon, 'and, after coming back quite 
pale with looking up at the sky so long, and attempting to 
express mirth at Mr. Robert Smithers having fallen asleep, 
t)y various galvanic chuckles, laid his head on his arm, and 
went to sleep also. When he awoke again, Mr. Robert 
Smithers awoke too, and they both very gravely agreed that 
it was extremely unwise to eat so many pickled walnuts with 
the chops, as it was a notorious fact that they always made 
people queer and sleepy ; indeed, if it had not been for the 
whiskey and cigars, there was no knowing what harm Ihey 
mightn't have done 'em. So they took some coffee, and after 
paying the bill, — twelve and twopence the dinner, and the 
odd tenpenoe for the waiter — thirteen shillings in all — started 
out on ^eir expedition to manufacture a night. 

It was just half-past eight, so they thought they couldn't 
do better than go at half-price to the slips at the City 
Theatre, which they did accordingly. Mr. Robert Smithers^ 
who had become extremely poetical after the settlement of the 
bill, enlivening the walk by informing Mr. Thomas Potter in 
confidence that he felt an inward presentiment of approaching 
dissolution, and subsequently embellishing the tlieatre, by 
falling asleep, with his head and both arms gracefully ' 
drooping over the front of the boxes. ' 

Such waa the quiet demeanour of the unassuming Smithers, I 
and such wore the happy effects of Scotch whiskey and I 



MAKING A NIGHT OF IT. 253 

Havannalis on that interestiiig person ! But Mr. Thomas 
Potter, whose great aim it was to be considered as a *' know- 
ing card," a *' fast-goer," and so forth, conducted himself in 
a very different manner, and commenced going very fast 
indeed — rather too fast at last, for the patience of the audience 
to keep pace with him. On his first entry, he contented him- 
self by earnestly calling upon the gentlemen in the gallery to 
** flare up," accompanying the demand with another request, 
expressive of his wish that they would instantaneously " form 
a union," both which requisitions were responded to, in the 
manner most in vogue on such occasions. 

'' Give that dog a bone ! " cried one gentleman in his shirt- 
sleeves. 

"Where have you been a having half a pint of inter- 
mediate beer ? " cried a second. ** Tailor ! " screamed a third. 
^' Barber's clerk ! " shouted a fourth. " Throw him o — ^veb ! " 
roared a fifth ; while numerous voices concurred in desiring 
Mr. Thomas Potter to " go home to his mother ! " All these 
taunts Mr. Thomas Potter received with supreme contempt, 
cocking the low-crowned hat a little more on one side, when- 
ever any reference was made to his personal appearance, and, 
standing up with his arms a-kimbo, expressing defiance melo- 
dramatically. 

The overture — ^to which these various sounds had been an 
ad lUntum accompaniment — concluded, the second piece began, 
and Mr. Thomas Potter, emboldened by impunity, proceeded 
to behave in a most unprecedented and outrageous manner. 
First of all, he imitated the shake of the principal female 
singer ; then, groaned at the blue fire ; then, affected to be 
frightened into convulsions of terror at the appearance of the 
ghost ; and, lastly, not only made a running commentary, in 
an audible voice, ux>on the dialogue on the stage, but actually 
awoke Mr. Robert Smithers, who, hearing his companion 
making a noise, and having a very indistinct notion where he 
was, or what was required of him, immediately, by way of 
imitating a good example, set up the most unearthly, unre- 
mitting, and appalling howling that ever audience heard. It 
was too much. "Turn them out!" was the general cry. 
A noise, as of shu£3ing of feet, and men being knocked up 
with violence against wainscotting, was heard : a hurried 
dialogue of "Come out?"— "I won't!"— "You shaU!"— 
"I shan't!" — "Give me your card, sir!" — "You're a 



254 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

scoundrel, &ir !" and so forth suooeeded. A round of appLanse 
betokened the approbation of the audience, and Mr. Bobeit 
Smithers and Mr. Thomas Potter found themselyes shot witii 
astonishing swiftness into the road, without having had the 
trouble of once putting foot to ground during the whole 
progress of their rapid descent. 

Mr. Bobert Smithers, being constitutionally one of the slow- 
goers, and haying had quite enough of fast-going, in the 
course of his recent expulsion, to last until the quarter-day 
then next ensuing at the very least, had no sooner emerged 
with his companion from the precincts of Milton-street^ than 
he proceeded to indulge in circuitous references to the beauties 
of sleep, mingled with distant allusions to the propriety of 
returning to Islington, and testinig the influence of ^eir 
patent Bramahs oyer the street-door locks to which they 
respectiyely belonged. Mr. Thomas Potter, howeyer, was 
yalorous and peremptoiy. They had come out to make a 
night of it : and a night must be made. So Mr. Robert 
Smithers, who was three parts dull, and the other dismal, 
despairingly assented ; and they went into a wine-vaultSy to 
get ihaterialB for assisting them in making a night ; whate 
they found a good many young ladies, and various old gentle- 
men, and a plentiful sprinkling of hackney-coachmeD. and 
cab-drivers, all drinking and talking together ; and Mr. 
Thomas Potter and Mr. Robert SmidierB drank small gluaas 
of brandy, and large glasses of soda, until they began to 
have a very confrised idea, either of things in general, or of 
anything in particular; and, when they had done treating 
themselves they began to treat everybody else ; and the rest 
of the entertainment was a confused mixture of heads and 
heels, black eyes and blue uniforms, mud and gas-lights, 
thick doors, and stone paving. 

Then, as standard novelists expressively inform us — " all 
was a blank ! '' and in the morning the blank was filled up 
with the words " Station-hotjse," and the station-house was 
filled up with Mr. Thomas Potter, Mr. Robert Smithersi, and 
the major part of their wine-vault companions of the preceding 
night, with a comparatively small portion of clothing of any 
kind. And it was disclosed at the Police-office, to the indig- 
nation of the Bench, and the astonishment of tJie speotatora^ 
how one Robert Smithers, aided and abetted by one Thomtti 
Potter, had knocked down and beaten, in divers streets, at 



THE PBISOmSBS^ YAK. 256 

different times, £ye men, four boys, and three women; how 
the said Thomas Potter had feloniously obtained possession of 
fiye door-knockers, two belL-handles, and a bonnet ; how 
Bobeit Smithers, his Mend, had sworn, at least forty pounds' 
worth of oaths, at the rate of five shillings a-piece ; teziified 
whole streets foil of Her Majesty's subjecta with awfiil shrieks 
and alarms of fire ; destroyed the uniforms of five policemen ; 
and conunitted various o^er atrocities^ too numerous to re- 
ci^itulate. And the magistrate, after an appropriate repri- 
mand, fined Mr. Thomas Potter and Mr. Bobert Smithers five 
shillings each, for being, what the law vulgarly termB, drunk ; 
and thirty-four pounds for seventeen assaults at forty aliillingn 
a-head, with liberty to speak to the prosecutors. 

The prosecutors tpere spoken to, and Messrs. Potter and 
Smithers lived on credit,, for a quarter, as best they might ; 
and, although the prosecutors expressed their readiness to be 
assaulted twice a week, on the same terms, they have never 
ainoe been detected in *' making a night of it." 



CHAPTER XII. 

THX FBIBOIfXBB' VAN. 



Wx were passing the coiner of BowHstreet, on our retom 
from a lounging excursion the other afternoon, when a crowd 
assembled round the door of the Police-office, attracted our 
attention. We turned up the street accordingly. There were 
thirty or forty people, standing on the pavement and half 
across the road ; and a few stragglers were patiently stationed 
on the opposite side of the way — all evidently waiting in 
expectation of some arrival. We waited too, a few nunutes, 
but nothing occurred; so, we turned round to an unshorn 
sallow-looking cobbler, who was standing next us with his 
hands under the bib of his apron, and put the usual question 
of " What 's the matter ? " The cobbler eyed us from head 
to foot, with superlative contempt, and laconically replied 
"Nuffin." 

Now, we were perfectly aware that if two men stop in the 
stieet to look at any given objedy or even to gaze in the air, 



256 SKBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

two Inmdred men will be assembled in no time ; but, as we 
knew very well that no crowd of people could by possibility 
remain in a street for five minutes without getting up a Httib 
amusement among themselTes, unless they had some absorbing 
object in view, the natural inquiry next in order was, " What 
are all these people waiting here for?" — "Her Majesty's 
carriage," replied the cobbler. This was still more extra- 
ordinary. We could not imagine what earthly business Hei 
^fajesty's carriage could have at the Public Office, Bow-street. 
We were beginning to ruminate on the possible causes of 
such an imcommon appearance, when a general exclamation 
from aU the boys in the crowd of '' Here 's the wan ! " caused 
us to raise our heads, and look up the street. 

The covered vehicle, in which prisoners are conveyed from 
the police-offices to the different prisons, was coming along at 
frdl speed. It then occurred to us, for the £rst time, that 
Her Majesty's carriage was merely another name for the 
prisoner's van, conferred upon it, not only by reason of the 
superior gentilLiy of the term, but because the aforesaid van 
is maintained at Her Majesty's expense : having been origi- 
nally started for the exclusive accommodation of ladies and 
gentlemen under the necessity of visiting the various houses 
of call known by the general denomination of '' Her Majesty's 
Gaols." 

The van drew up at the office door, and the people thronged 
roimd the steps, just leaving a little alley for the prisoners to 
pass through. Our friend the cobbler, and the other stragglers, 
crossed over, and we followed their example. The driver, and 
another man who had been seated by his side in front of the 
vehicle, dismounted, and were admitted into the office. The 
office door was closed after them, and the crowd were on 
the tiptoe of expectation. 

After a few minutes' delay, the door again opened, and Oie 
two first prisoners appeared. They were a couple of girls, of 
whom the elder could not be more than sixteen, and ihe 
younger of whom had certainly not attained her fourteenth 
year. That they were sisters, was evident, from the resem- 
blance which still subsisted between them, though two 
additional years of depravity had £xed their brand upon the 
elder girl's features, as legibly as if a red-hot iron had seared 
them. They were both gaudily dressed, the younger one 
especially ; and, although there was a strong similarity 



THB PBISONERS* YAN. 257 

between them in both reepects, which was rendered the more 
obvious by their being handcuffed together, it is impossible 
to oonceiye a greater contrast than the demeanour of the two 
presented. The younger girl was weeping bitterly — not for 
display, or in the hope of producing effect, but for yeiy 
shame; her face was buried in her handkerchief; and her 
whole manner was but too expressive of bitter and unayailing 
sorrow. 

" How long are you for, Emily ? " screamed a red-faced 
woman in the crowd. " Six weeks and labour," replied the 
elder girl with a flaunting laugh ; " and that 's better than 
the stone jug anyhow; the mill's a deal better than the 
Sessions, and here's Bella a-going too for the first time. 
Hold up your head, you chicken," she continued, boisterously 
tearing tilie other girl's handkerchief away ; " Hold up your 
head, and show 'em your &ce, I an't jealous, but I 'm blessed 
if I an't game ! " — '< That 's right, old gal," exclaimed a 
man in a paper cap, who, in common with the greater part of 
the crowd, had been inexpressibly delighted with this little 
incident. — "Eight!" replied the girl! "ah, to be sure; 
what 's the odds, eh ? " — " Come ! In with you," interrupted 
the driver. — " Don't you be in a hurry, coachman," replied 
the girl, " and recollect I want to be set down in Cold Bath 
Fields — large house with a high garden-wall in front ; you 
can't mistake it. Hallo. Bella, where are you going to — 
you'U pull my precious arm off?" This was addressed to 
the younger girl, who, in her anxiety to hide herself in the 
caravan, had ascended the steps flrst, and forgotten the strain 
upon the handcuff; " Come down, and let 's show you the 
way." And after jerking the miserable girl down with a force 
which made her stagger on the pavement, she got into the 
vehide, and was foUowed by her wretched companion. 

These two girls had been thrown upon London streets, their 
vices and debauchery, by a sordid and rapacious mother. 
What the yotmger girl was, then, the elder had been once ; 
and what the elder ti^en was, the younger must soon become. 
A melancholy prospect, but how surely to be realised; a 
tragic drama, but how often acted ! Turn to the prisons and 
police offices of London — ^nay, look into the veiy streets them- 
selves. These thiogs pass before our eyes, day after day, and 
hour after hour — they have become such matters of course, 
that they are utterly disregarded. The progress of these girls 



368 SEETCHBS BT BOZ. 

in crime Trill be as rapid' as the ffigiit of a pestilence, mooni - 
Ming it too in its banafiii JTiflinwice aiid wide-spreading infectiop. 
Stop by step, haw many wretched lemales, witiiin the c^iere 
of QTScy man's obserration^ have beccnne inrcdved in a career 
of TioOy &3glitfcd to contemplaie ; hopeless at its commeooe- 
ment, loafluBome and lepnlsLve in its conise; firieadleaB, 
iooAani, and onptied, at its miserable condnsion ! 

There were other prisoners — ^boys of ten, as hardened in 
yioe as men of ££ly — ^a hoqiseless Yagrant, going joyfolly to 
prison as a piaoe of food and shelter, handcnf^ to a man 
whose prospects were mined, character lost, and fieHmlj 
vendeced destitate^ by his first oi&nce. Our curiosity, how- 
eTer, was satisfied. The first gronp had left an impressiaa on 
our mind we would gladly hove avoided, and would willingly 
hareefiaoed. 

The crowd dispersed; the ipehide railed away with its load 
of guilt aad misfartune ; and we saw no more of the PrisonerB' 
Van. 




/J 



//, 



ins BOl£0Dr6.aOCBB. 2fif 



TALES. 



CHAPTER L 

THE BOARDINO-HOUSE. CHAPTER L 

MsB. TiBBfi was, beyond all dispute, the moet tidy, fidgefgr, 
thiifty, litde pevBona^ that ever inhaled the smoke of 
Landon: ttod the hause of Mrs. libbs was, decidedly, the 
neatest in all Qreat Ck)raiaHBtreet The area and the area 
0topfl, and the street-doory and the street-door steps, and the 
hriMS handle, and the door-plate, and the knocker, and tlie 
&n-light, were all as dean and bcight as indefiBitigable white- 
washing, and hearth-stoning, and sdmbbing and robbing 
eonid make them. The wmder was, that the brass door* 
plate, witii the interesting inacnption ''Mas. Tibbs," had 
never oanght £ie from constant friction, so pereeveringly 
was it polidied. There were meat safo-loddng blinds in the 
poiloBr windows, blna and gold onrtains in the drawing- 
TDOB, and apnng-roUer Uiads, as Mrs. Tibbs was wont in the 
pnle of hot heart to boast, '' ell tiie way up." The bell- 
lamp in &B passage looked as dLear as a soap-bubble; yon 
aoold see yourself in all flie tables, and French-polish your- 
aelf Oft any one of ibe chain. The banisters were bees'- 
waxed; and tha TSKy stair-wires made your eyes wink, they 
were so f^litteiiag. 

Mrs. Tibha was somewhai short of stature, and Mr. Tibbs 
was by no means a hv^e nuoL He had moreoyer, Teiy short 
iaga, b«t, by way of indemnificaition^ his face was peoaliady 
loag. He was to hia wife what the is in 90 — ^he was of 
some importance with her — ^he was nothing without ker. 
Mrs. Tibbs was always talking. Mr. Tibbs rarely spoke; 
bat, if it were at any tuna possible to put in a word, when he 
should hare said nothing at all, he had that talent. Mrs. 
Tibbs detested long stories, and Mr. Tibbs had on^, the eon- 

82 



S60 8EET0HES BT BOZ. 

dusion of which had never been heard by his most intimate 
friends. It always began, *' I recollect when I was in the 
volunteer corps, in eighteen hundred and six," — ^but, as he 
spoke veiy slowly and soMy, and his better half very quickly 
and loudly, he rarely got beyond the introductory sentence. 
He wajs a melancholy specimen of the story-teller. He was 
the wandering Jew of Joe Millerism. 

Mr. Tibbs enjoyed a small independence £rom the pension- 
list — about 4Sl. 158, lOd. a-year. His father, mother, and 
five interesting scions from the same stock drew a like sum 
from the revenue of a grateM country, though for what 
particular service was never known. But, as this said inde- 
pendence was not quite sufficient to frimish two people with 
aU the lu3curies of this life, it had occurred to the busy little 
spouse of Tibbs, that the best thing she could do with a legacy 
of 7001,, would be to take and ^iruish a tolerable house — 
somewhere in that partially explored tract of country which 
lies between the British Museum, and a remote village called 
Somers' town — ^for the reception of boarders. Great Coram- 
street was the spot pitched upon. The house had been 
fiimished accordingly; two female servants and a boy 
engaged; and an advertisement inserted in the morning 
papers, informing the public that "Six individuals would 
meet with all the comforts of a cheerful musical home in a 
select private fkmily, residing within ten minutes' walk of" 
—everywhere. Answers out of number were received, with 
all sorts of initials ; all the letters of the alphabet seemed to 
be seized with a sudden wish to go out boarding and lodging ; 
voluminous was the correspondence between Mrs. Tibbs and 
the applicants ; and most profound was the secrecy observed. 
'' E." didn't like this, " I." oould'nt think of putting up with 
that; ** I. O. U." didn't think the terms would suit him; and 
''G. R." had never slept in a French bed. The result, 
however, was, that three gentlemen became inmatefl of Mrs. 
Tibbs's house, on terms which were ''agreeable to all 
parties." In went the advertisement again, and a lady with 
her two daughters, proposed to increase — ^not their families^ 
but Mrs. Tibbs's. 

''Charming woman, that Mrs. Maplesone!" said Mrs. 
Tibbs, as she and her spouse were sitting by the fire after 
breakfast ; the gentlemen having gone out on their several 
avocations. " (farming woman, indeed ! " repeated little 



THE BOABDnre-HOUSB. 961 

Birs. Tibbs, more by way of soliloquy than anything eLse, for 
ahe never tiiought of consulting her busband. *^ And the two 
daughters are delightful. We must have some fish to-day ; 
they '11 join us at dLmer for the first time." 

Mr. Tibbs placed the poker at right angles with the fire 
shovel, and essayed to speak, but recollected he had nothing 
to say. 

" The young ladies/' continued Mrs. T. *' have kindly volun* 
teered to bring their own piano." 

Tibbs thought of the volunteer stoiy, but did not venture 
it. A bright thought struck him — 

" It 's very likely — " said he. 

'' Pray don't lean your head against the paper/' interrupted 
Mrs. Tibbs; "and don't put your feet on the steel fender; 
that 's worse." 

Tibbs took his head from the paper, and his feet from the 
fender, and proceeded. "It's veiy likely one of the young 
ladies may set her cap at young Mr. Simpson, and you know 
a marriage " — 

"A what!" shrieked Mrs. Tibbs. Tibbs modestly repeated 
his former suggestion. 

" I beg you won't mention such a thing," said Mrs. T. 
'' A marriage indeed ! — to rob me of my boarders — ^no, not for 
the world." 

Tibbs thought in his own mind that the event was by no 
means imlikely; but, as he never argued with his wife, he put 
a stop to the dialogue, by observing it was " time to go to 
business." He always went out at ten o'clock in the morning, 
and returned at five in the afternoon, with an exceedingly dirty 
face, and smelling mouldy. Nobody knew what he was, or 
where he went ; but Mrs. Tibbs used to say with an air of 
great importance that he was engaged in the City. 

The Miss Maplesones and their accomplished parent arrived 
in the course of the afternoon in a hackn^-coach, and 
accompanied by a most astonishing number of packages. 
Trunks, bonnet-boxes, muff-boxes, and parasols, guitar-casee, 
and parcels of all imagiuable shapes, done up In brown 
paper, and fastened with pins, filled the passage. Then, 
there was such a running up and down with the luggage, 
Buch scampering for warm water for the ladies to wash 
in, and such a bustle, and confusion, and heating of servants 
and curling-irons, as had never been known in Qteat Coram- 



a<& SKsrcBBS bt boz. 

street before. Little Mrs. Tibbs was quite in heir ekment^ 
basdiiig about, talking inoessaatlyy and distzibating tow^ 
and soap like a head nurse in a hospital. The house was not 
restored to its usual state of quiet repose, until the ladies 
were safely shut up in their respeotiye bedrooms^ engaged 
in the important occupation of dressing for dinner. 

" Are these gals 'andsome ? " inquired Mr. Simpson of Mr. 
49eptimus Hicks, another of i^ie boarders, as they were amus- 
ing themselves in the drawing-RKim, before dinner, by loDing 
on sofas and contemplating their pomps. 

" Don't know," replied Mr. Septimus Hicks, who was a 
tallish, white-£su}ed young maoiy wiOl spectacles, and a black 
ribbon round his neck instead of a neckerchief — a most inter- 
esting person : a poetical walker of the hospitals, and a " rery 
talented young man." He was fotid of " lugging " into con* 
versation, all sorts of quotations from Don Joan, without 
fattering himself by the propriety of their application; in 
widdi particular he was remarkably independent The oiher, 
Mr. Simpson, was one of those young men, who are in society 
what walking gentlemen are on the stage, only inftdtdy 
worse skiQed in his vocation than the most indifferent artist 
He was as empty-headed as the great bell of St. Paul's; 
always dressed according to the caricatures pubSiahed in the 
monthly fashions ; and spelt Character with a K. 

** I saw a devilish number of parcels in the passage when I 
came home," simpered Mr. Simpson. 

*' Materials for the toilet, no doubt," rejoined the Don Jna^ 
reader. 



■ " * Mneh Hnen, lAoe^ and sereral pair 

Of stoekingn, slippcns broshei, oombs, conq^ete ; 
With other Articles of ladies' £ur, 
To keep them beautifiil, or leave them neat' " 

*' Is that fix>m Milton ? " inquired Mr. Simpson. 

"No — from Byron," retained Mr. Hicks, with a look of 
contempt. He was quite sore of his author, because he had 
never read any other. " Hush ! Here come the gal%" and 
they both commenced talking in a very loud key. 

''Mrs. Maplesone and the Miss Maplesones, Mr. Hidka. 
Mr. Hicks — ^Mrs. Maplesone and the Miss Maplesones," said 
Mrs. Tibbs, with a very red face, for she had been saperin- 
tending the cooking operations below stcdrs, and looked like a 
wax doll on a sunny day. '' Mr. Simpson, I beg your paidn 



THS BOAEDma-HOUBE. 268 

' — ^Mr. Simpeon — ^Mrs. Maplesone and tine Miss MaplesoneB " 
— and vice wr$d. The gemtlemieDL immediately began to slide 
about with much politeness, and to look as if they inshed 
iiheir arms had been legs, so little did they know what to do 
'with them. The ladies smiledy eurtsiec^ and glided into 
chairsy and dived for dropped pocket-handkerchie£i ; the 
gentlemen leant against two of the ourtain-pegs ; Mrs. Tibbe 
went through an admirable bifc of serious pantomime with a 
servant who had oome up to ask some question about the £sh<- 
sauoe; and then the two young Ia£es looked at each other; 
and everybody else appeared to discover something very 
attractive in the pattern of the fender. 

''Julia my love/' said Mrs. Maplesone to her youngest 
daughter, in a tone loud enough for the remainder of the 
company to hear, — " Julia." 

" Yes, Ma." 

" Don't stoop." — ^This was said for the purpose of directing 
general attention to Miss Julia's ^gia% which was undeniaUe. 
Everybody looked at her, acoordingly, and there was another 
pause. 

*' We had the most uncivil hackney-coachman to-day, you 
can imagine," said Mrs. Maplesone to Mrs, libbs, in a con- 
fidential tone. 

'' Dear me ! " replied the hostess, with an air of great 
commiseration. She couldn't say more, for the servant again 
appeared at the door, and commenced telegraphing most 
earnestly to her '' Missis." 

'' I think hackney-coachmen generally 4ire un(4vi]," said 
Mr. Hicks in his most iTunTniittiTig tone. 

'' Positively I think they are," replied Mrs. Maplesone, as 
if the idea had never struck her before. 

'' And cabmen, too," said Mr. Simpson. This remark was 
a failure, for no one intimated, by word or sign, the slightest 
knowledge of the maimers and oostoms of cabmen. 

'' Robinson, what do you want ? " said Mrs. Tibbs to the 
servant, who, by way of making her presence known to her 
mistress, had been giving sundry hems and sni£& outside the 
door, during the preceding five minutes. 

" Please, ma'am, master wants hk dean things," replied 
the servant, taken off her guard. The two young men 
turned their faces to the window, and ''went off" like a 
couple of bottles of ginger beer; the ladies put their hand- 



264 8EBTCHB8 BT BOZ. 

kerohie& to their mouths ; and little Mrs. Tubbs bustled out of 
the room to give Tibbs his dean linen, — and the senrant 
wanung. 

Mr. Calton, the remaining boarder, shortly afterwards made 
his appearance, and proved a surprising promoter of the con- 
versation. Mr. Calton was a superannuated beau — an old 
boy. He used to say of himself that although his features 
were not regularly handsome, they were striking. They 
certainly were. It was impossible to look at his fEice without 
being reminded of a chubby street-door knocker, half-lion 
half -monkey ; and the comparison might be extended to his 
whole character and conversation. He had stood still, while 
everything else had been moving. He never originated a 
conversation, or started an idea ; but if any commonplace topic 
were broached, or, to pursue the comparison, if anybody lifted 
him up, he would hammer away with surprising rapidily. He 
had ^e tic-doloreux occasionally, and then he might be said 
to be muffled, because he did not make quite as much noise 
as at other times, when he would go on prosing, rat-tat-tat 
the same thing over and over again. He had never been 
married; but he was still on the look-out for a wife with 
money. He had a life interest worth about 3002. a year — ^he 
was exceedingly vain, and inordinately selfish. He had 
acquired the reputation of being the very pink of politeness, 
and he walked round the park, and up Regent-street, eveiy day. 

This respectable personage had made up his mind to render 
himself exceedingly agreeable to Mrs. Maplesone — indeed, 
the desire of being as amiable as possible extended itself to 
the whole party ; Mrs. Tibbs having considered it an admir- 
able little bit of management to represent to the gentlemen 
that she had some reason to believe the ladies were fortunes, 
and to hint to the ladies, that all the gentlemen were 
*' eligible.'' A little flirtation, she thought, might keep her 
house full, without leading to any other result. 

Mrs. Maplesone was an enterprising widow of about fifty : 
shrewd, scheming, and good-looking. She was amiably 
anxious on behalf of her daughters ; in proof whereof she 
used to remark, that she would have no objection to many 
again, if it would benefit her dear girls — she could have no 
other motive. The *' dear girls " themselves were not at all 
insensible to the merits of '' a good establishment." One of 
them was twenty-five ; thd other, three years younger. They 



THE BOARDINO-HOUSR. 2C5 

had been at difPerent watering-plaoes, for four seasons ; they 
had gambled at libraries, read books in baloonies, sold at 
fJEUiqy fairs, danced at assemblies, talked sentiment — in short, 
ihey had done all that industrious girls could do— but, as yet, 
to no purpose. 

" What a magnificent dresser Mr. Simpson is ! " whispered 
Matilda Maplesone to her sister Julia. 

" Splendid ! " returned the youngest. The magnificent 
individual alluded to wore a maroon-coloured dress-coat, with 
a yelret collar and cuSb of the same tint — ^veiy like that 
which usually invests the form of the distinguished unknown 
who condescends to play the '' swell " in the pantomime at 
" Richardson's Show." 

" What whiskers ! '* said Miss Julia. 

'^ Charming!" responded her sister; ''and what hair!" 
His hair was like a wig, and distinguished by that insinuating 
wave which graces the shining locks of those chefs-d'ceuvre of 
art surmounting the waxen images in Bartellot's window, in 
Regent-street ; his whiskers meeting beneath his chin, seemed 
strings wherewith to tie it on, ere science had rendered them 
unnecessary by her patent invisible springs. 

"Dinner's on the table, ma'am, if you please," said the 
hay, who now appeared for the first time, in a revived black 
coat of his master's. 

" Oh ! Mr. Calton, will you lead Mrs. Maplesone ? — ^Thank 
you." Mr. Simpson offered his arm to Miss Julia; Mr. 
Septimus Hicks escorted the lovely MatQda; and the pro- 
cession proceeded to the dining-room. ]\!lr. Tibbs was 
introduced, and Mr. Tibbs bobbed up and down to the three 
ladies like a figure in a Dutch dock, with a powerful spring 
in the middle of his body, and then dived rapidly into his 
seat at the bottom of the table, delighted to screen himself 
behind a soup-tureen, which he could just see over, and that 
was all. The boarders were seated, a lady and gentleman 
alternately, like the layers of bread and meat in a plate of 
sandwiches ; and then Mrs. Tibbs directed James to take off 
the covers. Salmon, lobster-sauce, giblet-soup, and the 
usual accompaniments were ducovered : potatoes like petrifac- 
tions, and bits of toasted bread, the shape and size of blank 
dice. 

'' Soup for Mrs. Maplesone, my dear," said the bustling 
Mrs. Tibbs. She always called her husband "my dear" 



266 SOTGHS3 BT BOZ. 

before company. Tibba who had been eating bis bread, and 
calculadng bow long it would be before be sbonld get any 
fishy helped the soup in a hurryy made a small island on tiM 
tabledoih, and put his glass upon it, to hide it from his wilbL 

" Miss Julia, shall I assist you to some fish ? " 

" If you please — very litde— oh ! plenty, thank yoa " (a 
bit about the size of a wahmt put upon the plate). 

" Julia is a very little eater/' said Mrs. Maplesone to Mr. 
Calton. 

The knocker gave a single rap. He was busy eating the 
fish with his eyes : so he only ejaculated, ** Ah ! " 

** My dear/' said Mrs. Tibbs to her spouse after every one 
else had been helped, '' What do you take ? " The inquiry 
was accompanied with a lock intimating that he mustn't say 
fish, because there was not much left. Tibbs thought the 
frown referred to the ialand on the tablecloth ; he theorefise 
cooUy repUed, " Why— I 'U take a Httle— fish, I think." 

" Did you say fish, my dear ? " (another firown.) 

^'Yes, dear," replied the Tillain, with an expresdoa of 
acute hunger depicted in his countenance. The tears almoet 
started to Mrs. Tibbs's eyes as she helped her " wretch of a 
husband," as she inwardly called him, to the last eatable bit 
of salmon on the dish. 

''James, take this to your master, and take away your 
master's knife." This was deliberate revenge, as Tibbs never 
could eat fish without one. He was, however, constrained to 
chase small particles of salmon round and round his plate 
with a piece o:^ bread and a fork, the nimiber of sueceaaliil 
attempts being about one in seventeen. 

'' Take away, James," said Mrs. Tibbs, as Tibbs swallowed 
the fourth mouthM — and away went the plates like lightning. 

'' I '11 take a bit of bread, James," said the poor '' master 
of the house," more hungry than ever. 

** Never mind your master now, James," said Mrs. Tibbs, 
" see about the meat." This was conveyed in the tone in 
which ladies usually give admonitions to servants in company, 
that is to say, a low one ; but which, like a stage whisper, 
firom its peculiar emphasis, is most distinctly heard by every- 
body present. 

A pause ensued, before the table was replenished — a aoit 
of parenthesis in which Mr. Simpson, Mr. Calton, and Mr. 
Hi^, produced zespeotfully a bottle of santeme, bnoeBaa^ 



* THE BOABBmG-ftOUBK 267 

and fiiherry, and took wine with ereiybody— -except Tibbs. 
No one ever thought of him. 

Between the fish and an intimated sirloin, there was a 
prolonged interval. 

Here was an opportunity for Mr. Hicks. He could not 
resist the singularly appropriate quotation — 

'* Bui beef u rare vithin thete ozImh iMka ; 
Goats' flesh there is, no donbi, and kid, and mutton^ 
And, when a holiday npon them smileSy 
A joint upon their barbarous spits tJiey pvt on." 

'* Vesry ungentlemanly behaviour/' thought little Mrs. Tibbs, 
"to talk in that way." 

" Ah," said Mr. Calton, filling his glass. " Tom Moore is 
my poet." 

"And mine," said Mrs. Maplesone. 

"And mine," said Miss Julia. 

" And mine," added Mr. Simpson. 

" Loc^ at his campositions," resumed the knocker, 

" To be sure," said Simpson, with confidence. 

" Look at Don Juan," repHed Mr. Septimus Hicks. 

" Julia's letter," suggested Miss Matilda. 

" Can anything be grander than the Fire Worshippers ? " 
inquired Miss Julia. 

" To be sure," said Simpson. 

" Or Paradise and the Peri," said the old beau. 

" Yes ; or Paradise and the Peer," repeated Simpson, who 
thought he was getting through it capitally. 

" It 's all very well," replied Mr. Septimus Hicks, who, as 
we have before hinted, never had read anything but Don Juan. 
** Where will you find anything finer than the description of 
the siege, at the commencement of the seventh canto ? " 

" Talidng of a siege," said Tibbs, with a mouthful of bread 
— •" when I was in the volunteer corps, in eighteen hundred 
and six, our commanding officer was Sir Charles Rampart ; 
and one day, when we were exercising on the ground on 
which the London University now stands, he says, says he, 
Tibbs (calling me from the ranks) Tibbs — ^" 

" Tell your master, James," interrupted Mrs. Tibbs, in an 
awftilly distinct tone, " tell your master if he won't carve those 
fowls, to send them to me." The discomfited volunteer 
instantly set to work, and carved the fowls almost as ezpe* 



208 8EBT0HB8 BT BOZ. 

JitioTisly as his wi£d operated on ike haunch of mnttom. 
Whether he ever finished the story is not known ; but^ if he 
did, nobody heard it. 

As the ice was now broken, and the new inmates more at 
home, every member of the company felt more at ease. Tibbs 
himself most certainly did, because he went to sleep imme- 
diately after dinner. Mr. Hicks and the ladies discoursed 
most eloquently about poetry, and the theatres, and Lord 
Chesterfield's Letters; and Mr. Calton followed up what every- 
body said, with continuous double knocks. Mrs. Tibbs highly 
approved of every observation that fell from Mrs. Maplesone ; 
and as Mr. Simpson sat with a smile upon his face and said 
'' Yes," or '* Certainly," at intervals of about four minutes 
each, he received full credit for understanding what was going 
forward. The gentlemen rejoined the ladies in the drawing- 
room very shortly after they had lefb the dining-parlour. 
Mrs. Maplesone and Mr. Calton played cribbage, and the 
'* yoimg people " amused themselves with music and conver- 
sation. The Miss Maplesones sang the most fascinating duets, 
and accompanied themselves on guitars, ornamented with bits 
of ethereal blue ribbon. Mr. Simpson put on a pink waistcoat, 
and said he was in raptures; and Mr. Hi(^ felt in the 
seventh heaven of poetry, or the seventh canto of Don Juan 
— ^it was the same thing to him. Mrs. Tibbs was quite 
charmed with the new comers; and Mr. Tibbs spent the 
evening in his usual way — ^he went to sleep, and woke up, 
and went to sleep again, and woke at supper-time. 



We are not about to adopt tte licence of novel-writers, and 
to let "years roll on;" but we will take the liberty of 
requesting the reader to suppose that six months have elapsed, 
since the dinner we have described, and that Mrs. Tibbs's 
boarders have, during that period, sang, and danced, and 
gone to theatres and exhibitions, together, as ladies and 
gentlemen, wherever they board, often do. And we will beg 
them, the period we have mentioned having elapsed, to 
imagine farther, that Mr. Septimus Hicks received, in his own 
bedroom (a front attic), at an early hour one morning, a note 
from Mr. Calton, requesting the favour of seeing him, as soon 
as convenient to himself, in his (Calton' s) dressing-room on 
the second fioor back. 



THE BOARDnrO-HOUSB. 269 

''Tell Mr. Calton I'll come down dizecdy/' said Mr. 
SeptimuB to the boy. "Stop — is Mr. Calton unwell?" 
inquired this excited walker of hospitals, as he put on a bed- 
furniture-looking dressing-gown. 

** Not as I ^ows on, sir/* replied the boy. " Please, sir, 
he looked rather rum, as it might be." 

" Ah, that 's no proof of his being iU," returned Hicks, 
unconsciously. " Very well : I *11 be down directly." Down 
stairs ran liie boy with the message, and down went the 
excited Hicks himself, almost as soon as the message was 
delivered. " Tap, tap." " Come in." — ^Door opens, and 
discovers Mr. Calton sitting in an easy chair. Mutual eihakes 
of the hand exchanged, and Mr. Septimus Hicks motioned to 
a seat. A short pause. Mr. Hicks coughed, and Mr. Calton 
took a pinch of snufT. It was one of those interviews where 
neither party knows what to say. Mr. Septimus Hicks broke 
silence. 

'' I received a note — " he said, very tremulously, in a voice 
like a Punch with a cold. 

" Yes," returned the other, *' you did.** 

'* Exactly." 

"Yes." 

Now, although this dialc^^ must have been satisfieu^toiy, 
both gentlemen felt there was something more important to 
be said ; therefore they did as most men in such a situation 
would have done — ^they looked at the table with a determined 
aspect. The conversation had been opened, however, and 
Mr. Calton had made up his mind to continue it, with a 
regular double knock. He always spoke very pompously. 

" Hicks," said he, " I have sent for you, in consequence of 
certain arrangements which are pending in this house, con- 
nected with a marriage." 

" With a marriage ! " gasped Hicks, loompared with whose 
expression of countenance, Hamlet's, when he sees his father's 
ghost, is pleasing and composed. 

" With a marriage," returned the knocker. " I have sent 
for you to prove the great confidence I can repose in you." 

" And will you betray me ? " eagerly inquired Hicks, who 
in his alarm had even forgotten to quote. 

" I betray you ! Won't ycu betray nw ? " 

" Never : no one shall know, to my dying day, that you 
had a hand in the business," responded the agitated Hioks 



1270 BKSIKMER BY BOZ. 

-m^ aa inflamed countenanfie, and his kair staading on «xid 
as if he were on the stodl of aa electrifjriiig maohiTie ia full 
operation. 

'^•People must know that, some tone or other — within a 
jear, I imagine/' said Mr. GaJion, with aa air of great self- 
oomplacency. " We may haye a family." 

« We /—That w<Mi't aJQEect you, surely ? " 

"The devil it won't!" 

^'No! how can it?" said the bewildexed Hicks. Caltoi 
was too much inwrapped in the contemplation of his happi- 
ness to see the equivoque between Hicks and himself; and 
tiirew himsalf bai^ in his chair. " Oh, Matilda ! " sighed 
the antique beau, in a laok-a-daisical Toice, and applying his 
light hand a htOB to the left of the Ibinrth button of his 
waistcoat, counting finm the bottom. " Oh, Matilda ! " 

" What Matilda ? '' inquired Hicks, starting up. 

" Matilda Maplesone," responded the other, doing the same 

« I marry her to-sioifow morning," said Hidss. 

** It 's false," rejoined his companion : *' I many her ! " 

*' You marry her ! " 

" I marry her I " 

** You marry Matilda Maplesone ? " 

'' Matilda Maplesone." 

** Miu Ma][de0Qne mBoajyouf " 

" Miss Maplesosie ! No : Mrs. Maj^esone.'' 

'' Good Heafcn!" said Hidos^fJling into his chair: 'Ton 
marry ihe mother, and I the daaghtor ! " 

'' Most eziraocdinny draimstance ! " reified Mr. Calixm, 
" and rather incoDveaieoit too ; for the &ct is, tliat owing to 
Matilda's wishiog to keep her intention secret from her 
danghiess until ilie eeremony had taken plaoe^ die doesn't 
like applying to any of her friends to give her away. I ettter- 
tain an objeotiim to ^^laldiig the a&ir known to my aoqoain- 
taaoe just now ; and tise oonseqaenoe is, tibat I sent to you, to 
know whether you 'd oblige me by acting as fiiiifaflr." 

^'I should have been most ^]^J> I assure ytm,** said 
HiekB,ina toneof oondDkoce; '' but, yon see, I ahall be aetiog 
as bridegroom. One character is frequently a eoBseqpMnoe of 
the other ; but it is no(fc usual to act in boti^ at the same time. 
There 's Simpson — ^I hare no doubt he *11 do it fi)r fonJ^ 

''I don't like to adL him," replied Calion; ''he's such 
a donkey." 



THX BOAUmO-HOnSE. 271 

Mr. SepiimtLS Hicks lodbed up jufc tliB oeiling; aod dowB at 
ike floor ; at last an idea Bbnack him. ** Let the man of the 
house, TibbSy be the &tiier/' he suggerted; and thaa be 
quoted, as peculiarly applicable to Tibbs azui the pair — 

*' Oh Pi vers of Heaven t what dark eyes meetB ahe then ! 
»Ti*— 'tia her fether'a — ^fixed upon the pair.** 

*' The idea has stmck me already/' said Mr. Calton : ''but, 
you see, Matilda, for what reason I know not, is very anxious 
that Mrs. Tibbs should know nothing about it, till it's all 
over. It 's a natural deHcacy, after all, you know." 

''He's the best-natured litde man in existence, if you 
manage him properly," said Mr, Septimus Hicks. '^ Tell him 
not to mention it to his wife, and assure him she won't mind 
it, and he '11 do it directly. My marriage is to be a secret 
one, on aooount of the mother and my father : therefiare he 
must be enjoined to secrecy." 

A small double knock, like a presumptuous single one, was 
that instant heard arf; the street-door. It was Tibbs ; it could 
be no one ebe; for no one else occupied five mismtes in 
rabbin^ his shoes. He had been out to pay the baker's bill. 

"Mr. Tibbs," caJled Mr. Calton in a Teiy Uand tone, 
looking over the banisters. 

'^ Sir 1 " xepHed he of the dirty £m». 

^'WiU yon have &e knidnees io ubsp Tcp staira fbr a 
moment ? " 

** Certainly, sir," said Tibbs, delighted io be taken notice 
of. The bedroom-door was caarefbJly dosed, and Tibbe, 
harving piiet his hat on the floor (as most tuoid men do), and 
been aooommodatod with a seat, looked as astounded as if he 
were suddenly summoned before the ftmib'ars of the Inq[ui- 
sitiosL 

" A ralher unpleasant oeconenoe, Mr. Tibbs," said Calton, 
in a veiy portentous manner, " obliges me to consult you, and 
to beg you wiU not communicate what I am about to say, to 
your wife." 

Tibbs acquiesced, wondering in his own mind what the 
deuce the oilier could have done, and imagining fiiat at I&ast 
he must have broken the best decanters, 

Mr. Calton resumed; "I am placed, Mr. Tibbs, in xafiier 
an unpleasant situation." 

Tibbs looked at Mr. Septimus Hicks, as if he (bought Mr. 



272 SEBTCHSS BT BOZ. 

H.'s being in the immediate vicinity of bis fellow-boarder 
migbt constitute the nnpleasantness of bis situation ; but as 
be did not exactly know what to say, be merely ejaculated the 
monosyllable " Lor ! " 

"Now," continued the knocker, "let me beg you wiD 
exhibit no manifestations of surprise, which may be overheard 
by the domestics, when I tell you — command your feelings of 
astonishment — ^that two iomates of this house intend to be 
married to-morrow morning." And he drew back bis chair, 
several feet, to perceive the effect of the unlooked-for an- 
nouncement. 

If Tibbs had rushed from the room, staggered down stairs, 
and fainted in the passage — ^if he had instantaneously jumped 
out of the window into the mews behind the house, in an 
agony of suiprise— his behaviour would have been much less 
inexplicable to Mr. Calton than it was, when he put his hands 
into his inexpressible-pockets, and said with a half-chuckle, 
"Just so." 

" You are not surprised, Mr. Tibbs ? " inquired Mr. Calton. 

" Bless you, no, sir," returned libbs ; " after all it 's very 
natural. When two young people get together, you know " 

"Certainly, certainly," said Calton, with an indescribable 
air of self-satisfaction. 

" You don't think it's at all an out-of-the-way afiBsdr then ?" 
asked Mr. Septimus Hicks, who had watched the countenance 
of Tibbs in mute astonishment. 

" No, sir," replied Tibbs ; " I was just the same at his age." 
He actually smiled when he said this. 

" How devilish well I must carry my years ! " thought the 
delighted old beau, knowing he was at least ten years older 
than Tibbs at that moment. 

" Well, then, to come to the point at once," he continued, 
*' I have to ask you whether you will object to act as father 
S>n the occasion?" 

" Certainly not," replied Tibbs ; still without evincing an 
atom of surprise. 

"YouwiUnot?" 

" Decidedly not," reiterated Tibbs, still as calm as a pot of 
porter with the head ofL 

Mr. Calton seized the hand of the petticoat-governed little 
man, and vowed eternal friendship from that hour. Hicks, 
who was all admiration and surprise, did the same. 



THB BOARDINa-HOITSS. 878 

'' Now confess/' asked Mr. Calton of Tibbs, as he picked up 
his hat, " were you not a little surprised ? " 

" I b'lieve you ! '' replied that illustrious person, holding uj 
ofie hand ; '' I b'lieve you ! When I first heard of it." 

'' So sudden/' said Septimus Hicks. 

" So strange to ask me, you know/' said Tibbs. 

" So odd fdtogether ! " said the superannuated love-maker ; 
and then all three laughed. 

''I say/' said Tibbs, shutting the door which he had 
previously opened, and giving fall vent to a hitherto corked-up 
giggle, '' what bothers me is, what will his fS&ther say ? " 

Mr. Septimus Hicks looked at Mr. Calton. 

''Tes; but the best of it is/' said the latter, giggling in 
his turn, " I haven't got a feither — ^he ! he ! he ! " 

" You haven't got a father. No ; but he has," said Tibbs. 

" Who has ? " inquired Septimus Hicks. 

" Why him:' 

"Him, who? Do you know my secret ? Do you mean me ? " 

" You ! No ; you know who I mean," returned Tibbs with 
a knowing wink. 

"For Heaven's sake whom do you mean?" inquired Mr. 
Calton, who, like Septimus Hicks, was all but out of his 
senses at the strange confusion. 

" Why Mr. Simpson, of course," replied Tibbs ; " who else 
could I mean ? " 

" I see it all," said the Byron-quoter ; " Simpson marries 
Julia Maplesone to-morrow morning ! " 

"Undoubtedly," replied Tibbs, thoroughly satisfied, "of 
course he does." 

It would require the pencil of Hogarth to illustrate — our 
feeble pen is inadequate to describe — ^the expression which 
the countenances of Mr. Calton and Mr. Septimus Hicks 
respectively assumed, at this unexpected announcement. 
Equally impossible is it to describe, although perhaps it is 
easier for our lady readers to imagine, what arts the three 
ladies could have used, so completely to entangle their separata 
partners. Whatever they were, however, they were successM. 
The mother was perfectly aware of the intended marriage ot 
both daughters ; and the young ladies were equally acquainted 
with the intention of their estimable parent. They agreed^ 
however, that it would have a much better appearance if each 
feigned ignorance of the other's engagement; and it was 



274 SEBTCHES BT BOZ. 

equally desirable that all the marriages should take place on 
the same day, to present the discovery of one clandestine 
alliance, operating prejudicially on the others. Hence, the 
mystification of Mr. Calton and Mr. Septimus Hicks, and the 
pre-engagement of the unwary Tibbs. 

On the following morning, Mr. Septimus Hicks was united 
to Miss Matilda Maplesone. Mr. Simpson also entered into a 
''holy alliance" wiUi Miss Julia: Tibbs acting as father, 
'^his £iBt appearance in that character.'^ Mr. Calton, not 
being quite so eager as the two young men, was rather struck 
by the double discovery ; and as he had found some difficulty 
in getting any one to give the lady away, it occurred to him 
that the best mode of obviating the inconvenience would be 
not to take her at all. The lady, however, "appealed," as 
her counsel said on the trial of the cause^ Maplesone v. Calton, 
for a breach of promise, " with a broken heart, to the outraged 
laws of her country." She recovered damages to the amount 
of 1,000^. which the unfortunate knocker was compelled to 
pay. Mr. Septimus Hicks having walked the hospitals, took 
it into his head to walk off altogether. His injured wife is at 
present residing with her mother at Boulogne. Mr. Simpson, 
having the misfortune to lose his wife six weeks after marriage 
(by her eloping with an officer during his temporary sojourn 
in the Fleet Prison, in consequence of his inability to discharge 
her little mantua-maker's bill), and being disinherited by Us 
fadier, who died soon afterwards, was fortunate enough to 
obtain a permanent engagement at a fiEiahionable hair-cutter's; 
hairdressing being a science to which he had frequently 
directed his attention. In this situation he had necessarily 
many opportunities of making himself acquainted with the 
habits, and style of thinking, of the exclusive portion of the 
nobility of this kingdom. To this fortunate circumstance axB 
we indebted for the production of those brilliant effi>rtB of 
genius, his fashionable novels, which so long as good taste, 
TUisullied by exaggeration, cant, and quackezy, continues to 
exist, cannot fail to instruct and amuse the thinking portion 
of the oommuniiy. 

It only remains to add, that this complication of disorders 
completely deprived poor Mrs. Tibbs of all her inmates, 
except the one whom she could have best spared — her husband. 
Thai; wretched little man returned home, on the day of the 
wedding, in a state of partial intoxication; and, under the 




h^^.^iJC^ ."^ 



^ .y^.^./.., 



THE BOAEDING-HOUSB. 275 

influence of -wine, excitement, and despair, actually dared to 
brave the anger of his wife. Since that iU-feited hour he has 
constantly taken his meals in the kitchen, to which apartment, 
it is understood, his witticisms will he in future confined : a 
turn-up bedstead having been conveyed there by Mrs. Tibbs's 
order for his exclusive accommodation. It is possible that he 
will be enabled to finish, in that sedusion, his story of the 
"volunteers. 

The advertisement has again appeared in the morning 
papers. Results must be reserved for another chapter. 



CHAPTER THE SE(X)ND. 



" Well ! " said little Mrs. Tibbs to herself, as she sat in 
the front parlour of the Coram-street mansion one morning, 
mending a piece of stair-carpet off the first 1a.nding ; — *^ Things 
have not turned out so badly, either, and if I only get a favour- 
able answer to the advertisement^ we shall be ivHL again." 

Mrs. Tibbs resumed her occupation of making worsted 
lattice-work in the carpet, anxiously listening to the twopenny 
postman, who was hammering his way down the street, at the 
rate of a penny a knock. The house was as quiet as possible. 
There was only one low sound to be heard — ^it was- the 
unhappy Tibbs cleaning the gentlemen's boots in the back 
kitchen, and accompanying himself with a buzzing noise, in 
wretched mockery of humming a tune. 

The postman drew near the house. He paused — so did 
Mrs. Tibbs. A knock — a bustle — ^a letter — ^post-paid. 

" T. I. presents compt. to I. T. and T. I. begs To say that 
i see the advertisement And she will Do Hersdf the pleasure 
of calling On you at 12 o'clock to-morrow morning. 

"T. I. as To apologise to I. T. for the shortness Of the 
notice But i hope it will not unconvenience you. 
" I remain yours Truly 

** Wednesday evening." 

Little Mrs. Tibbs perused the document, over and over 
again ; and the more she read it, the more was she confused 

ff2 



276 SEBTCHES BY BOZ. 

by the mixture of the first and third person ; the substitation 
of the "I" for the "T. I.;" and the transiticn from the 
"i. T." to the "you." The writing looked like a skein of 
thread in a tangle, and the note was ingeniously folded into a 
perfect square, with the direction squeezed up into the right- 
hand comer, as if it were ashamed of itself. The back of the 
epistle was pleasingly ornamented with a large red wafer, 
which, with the addition of divers ink-stains, bore a marvellous 
resemblance to a black beeUe trodden upon. One thing, how- 
ever, was perfectly dear to the perplexed Mrs. Tibbs. Some- 
body was to call at twelve. The drawing-room was forthwith 
dusted for the third time that morning ; three or four chairs 
were pulled out of their places, and a corresponding nimiber 
of books careftdly upset, in order that there might be a due 
absence of formality. Down went the piece of stair-caipet 
before noticed, and up ran Mrs. Tibbs "to make herself 
tidy." 

The dock of New Saint Pancras Churdi strudc twdve, and 
the Foundling, with laudable politeness, did the same ten 
minutes afterwards. Saint something else struck the quarter, 
and then there arrived a single lady with a double knock, iu a 
pdisse the colour of the interior of a damson pie ; a bonnet of 
the same, with a regular conservatory of artificial flowers ; a 
white veil, and a green parasol, with a cobweb border. 

The visitor (who was very fat and red-fSBU>ed) was shown 
into the drawing-room; Mrs. Tibbs presented hersdf, and the 
negotiation commenced. 

" I called in consequence of an advertisement," said the 
stranger, in a voice as if she had been playing a set of Pan's 
pipes for a fortnight without leaving off. 

" Yes ! " said Mrs. Tibbs, rubbing her hands very dowly, 
and looking the applicant full in the face — ^two things she 
always did on such occasions. 

" Money isn't no object whatever to me," said the lady, " so 
mudi as living in a state of retirement and obtrusion." 

Mrs. Tibbs, as a matter of course, acquiesced in such an 
exceedingly natural desire. 

<' I am constantly attended by a medical man," resumed the 
pelisse wearer; '* I have been a shocking unitarian for some 
time — ^I, indeed, have had veiy little peace since the death of 
Mr. Bloss." 

Mrs. Tibbs looked at the relict of the departed Bloss, and 



THB BOAROINa-HOUBB. S77 

Jionght he must have had very little peace in his time. Of 
coxuse she could not say so ; so she looked yeiy sympathismg. 

«I shall be a good deal of trouble to you/' said Mrs. 
Bloss ; " but, for that trouble I am willing to pay. I am 
going through a course of treatment which renders attention 
necessary. I have one mutton chop in bed at half-past eight, 
and another at ten, every morning." 

Mrs. Tibbs, as in duty bound, expressed the pity she felt 
for any body placed in such a distressing situation ; and the 
carnivorous Mrs. Bloss proceeded to arrange the various pre- 
liminaries with wonderM despatch. ** Now mind/' said that 
lady/ after terms were arranged; '' I am to have the second- 
floor front, for my bed-room ? " 

"Yes, ma'am." 

" And you '11 find room for my little servant Agnes ? " 

"Oh! certainly." 

" And I can have one of the cellars in the area for my 
bottled porter." 

"With the greatest pleasure; — ^James shall get it ready 
for you by Saturday." 

"And I'll join the company at the breaMast-table on 
Sunday morning," said Mrs. Bloss. "I shall get up on 
purpose." 

" Very well," returned Mrs. Tibbs, in her most amiable 
tone; for satisfactory references had "been given and re- 
quired," and it was quite certain that the new comer had 
plenty of money. "It's rather singular," continued Mrs. 
Tibbs, with what was meant for a most bewitching smile, 
" that we have a gentleman now with us, who is in a very 
delicate state of health — a Mr. Gobler. — His apartment is the 
back drawing-room." 

" The next room ? " inquired Mrs. Bloss. 

" The next room," repeated the hostess. 

" How very promiscuous ! " ejaculated the widow. 

" He hardly ever gets up," said Mrs. Tibbs in a whisper. 

" Lor ! " cried Mrs. Bloss, in an equally low tone. 

" And when he is up," said Mrs. Tibbs, " we never can 
persuade him to go to bed again." 

" Dear me ! " said the astonished Mrs. Bloss, drawing her 
chair nearer Mrs. Tibbs. " What is his complaint ? " 

" Why, the fact is," replied Mrs. Tibbs, with a most com- 
municative air ' he has no stomach whatever." 



278 SEBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

'' No what ? " inquired Mrs. Bloss, with a look of the most 
indesoribable alarm. 

. " No stomach/' repeated Mrs. Tibbs, with a shake of the 
head. 

'' Lord bless lis ! what aa extraordinary case ! " gasped Mrsw 
Bloss, as if she understood the communication in its literal 
sense, and was astonished at a gentleman without a stomach 
finding it necessary to board anywhere. 

<< When I say he has no stomach," explained the chaify 
little Mrs. Tibbs, '* I mean that his digestion is so mmh imr- 
paired, and his interior so deranged, that his stomach is not 
of the least use to him ; — in fact, it 's an inconvenience." 

'' Never heard such a case in my life ! " exclaimed Mi& 
Bloss. " Why, he 's worse than I am." 

" Oh, yes ! " replied Mrs. Tibbs; — " certainly." She said 
this with great confidence, for the damson pelisse suggested 
that Mrs. Bloss, afc all events, was not suffering xmder Mr. 
Gobler's complaint. 

'' You have quite incited my curiosity," said Mrs. Bloss, aa 
she rose to depart. " How I long to see him ! " 

*'He generally comes down, once a week," replied Mrs. 
Tibbs ; " I dare say you *11 see him on Sunday." With this 
consolatory promise Mrs. Bloss was obliged tip be contented. 
She accordingly walked slowly down the stairs, detailing her 
complainte dOL the way ; and Mrs. Tibbs followed her, utter- 
ing an exclamation of compassion at every step. James (who 
looked very gritty, for he was cleaning the knives) fell up the 
kitehen-stairs, and opened the street-door ; and, after mutual 
farewells, Mrs. Bloss slowly departed, down the shady side of 
the street. 

It is almost superfluous to say, that the lady whom we 
have just shown out at the street-door (and whom the two 
female servante are now inspecting from the second-floor 
windows) was exceedingly vulgar, ignorant, and selfish. Her 
deceased better-half had been an eminent cork-cutter, in which 
capacity he had amassed a decent fortune. He had no relative 
but his nephew, and no friend but his cook. The former had 
the insolence one morning to ask for the loan of fifteen 
poxmds ; and, by way of retaliation, he married the latter 
next day ; he made a will immediately afterwards, containing 
a burst of honest indignation against his nephew, (who sup- 
I)orted himself and two sisters on 1002. a year), and a bequest 



THE BOABDING-HOnSB. 279 

'ttf his whole property to his wife. He felt ill after breakfast, 
and died after dinner. There is a mantelpiece-looking tablet 
in a civic parish church, setting forth his virtues, and deplor- 
ing his loss. He never dishonoured a bill, or gave away a 
hal^nny. 

The relict and sole executrix of this noble-minded man was 
an odd mixture of shrewdness and simplicity, liberality and 
meanness. Bred up as she had been, she knew no mode of 
living so agreeable as a boarding-house ; and having nothing 
to do, and nothing to wish for, she naturally imagined she 
must be veiy ill — an impression which was most assiduously 
promoted by her medical attendant. Dr. Wosky, and her 
handmaid Agnes : both of whom, doubtless for good reasons, 
encouraged all her extravagant notions. 

Since the catastrophe recorded in the last chapter, Mrs. 
Tibbs had been very shy of young-lady boarders. Her present 
inmates were all lords of the creation, and she availed herself 
of the opportunity of their assemblage at the dinner-table, to 
announce the expected arrival of Mrs. Bloss. The gentlemen 
received the communication with stoical indifference, and Mrs. 
Tibbs devoted all her energies to prepare for the reception of 
the valetudinarian. The second-floor front was scrubbed, 
and washed, and flannelled, tiU the wet went through to 
the drawing-room ceiling. Clean white counterpanes, and 
curtains, and napkins, water-bottles as clear as crystal, blue 
jugs, and mahogany furniture, added to the splendour, and 
increased the comfort, of the apartment. The warming-pan 
was in constant requisition, and a fire lighted in the room 
every day. The chattels of Mrs. Bloss were forwarded by 
instalments. First, there came a large hamper of Guinness's 
fltout, and an umbrella ; then, a train of tnmks ; then, a pair 
of dogs and a bandbox ; then, an easy chair with an air- 
cushion ; then, a variety of suspicious-looking packages ; and 
— "though last not least" — Mrs. Bloss and Agnes: the 
latter in a cherry-coloured merino dress, open-work stockings, 
and shoes with sandals : like a disguised Columbine. 

The installation of the Duke of Wellington, as Chancellor 
of the University of Oxford, w£is nothing, in point of bustle 
and turmoil, to the installation of Mrs. Bloss in her new 
quarters. True, there was no bright doctor of civil law to 
deliver a classical address on the occasion ; but there were 
several other old women present, who spoke quite as much to 



260 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

1^6 purposdy and understood themselves equally welL Hie 
i^op-eater was so fatigued with the process of removal that 
ahe declined leaving her room until the following morning; 
80 a mutton-chop, pickle, a pill, a pint bottle of stout, and 
other medicines, were carried up-stairs for her consumption. 

""Why, what do you think, ma'am ? " inquired the inqui- 
sitive Agnes of her mistress, after they had been in the house 
some three hours ; ** what do you think, ma'am ? the lady of 
the house is married.' ' 

''Married! " said Mrs. Bloss, taking the pill and a draught 
of Ghiinness — " married ! Unpossible ! " 

''She is indeed, ma'am," returned the Columbine; "and 
her husband, ma'am, lives — he — he — he — lives in the 
kitchen, ma'am." 

" In the kitchen ! " 

" Yes, ma'am : and he — he — ^he — ^the housemaid says, he 
never goes into the parlour except on Sundays; and that 
Mrs. Tibbs makes him dean the gentlemen's boots ; and that 
he cleans the windows, too, sometimes ; and that one morning 
early, when he wajs in the ^nt balcony cleaning the drawing- 
room windows, he called out to a gentleman on the opposite 
side of the way, who used to live here — ' Ah ! Mr. Oalton, 
sir, how are you ? ' " Here the attendant laughed till Mrs. 
Bloss was in serious apprehension of her chuckling heraelf 
into a fit. 

" WeU, I never ! " said Mrs. Bloss. 

" Yes. And please, ma'am, the servants gives him gin> 
and-water sometimes ; and then he cries, and says he hates 
his wife and the boarders, and wants to tickle them." 

"Tickle the boarders!" exclaimed Mrs. Bloss, seriously 
alarmed. 

" No, ma'am, not the boarders, the servants." 

" Oh, is that all ! " said Mrs. Bloss, quite satisfied. 

" He wanted to kiss me as I came up the kitchen-staazs, 
just now," said Agnes, indignantly; "but I gave it him. — 
a little wretch ! " 

This ia!;elligence was but too true. A long course of snub- 
bing and neglect; his days spent in the kitchen, and his 
nights iu the turn-up bedstead, had completely broken the 
little spirit that the unfortunate volunteer had ever possessed. 
He had no one to whom he could detail his injuries but 
the servants, and they were almost of necessity his chosen 



THB BOAEDma-HOUBB. ttl 

confidants. It is no less strange than true, lioweyer, that the 
little weaknesses which he had incurred, most probably during 
hia military career, seemed to increase as his comforts 
diminished. He was actually a sort of journeyman Qioyanni 
•of the basement story. 

The next morning, being Sunday, breakfast was laid in the 
front parlour at ten o'clock. Nine was the usual time, but 
the family always breakfasted an hour later on sabbath. 
Tibbs enrobed himself in his Sunday costume — a black 
<x>at, and exceedingly short, thin trousers ; with a very large 
white waistcoat, white stockings and cravat, and Blucher boots 
— and mounted to the parlour aforesaid. Nobody had come 
down, and he amused himself by drinking the contents of the 
milkpot with a teaspoon. 

A pair of slippers were heard descending the stairs. Tibbs 
flew to a chair ; and a stem-looking man, of about fifty, with 
TBry little hair on his head, and a Sunday paper in his hand, 
'Altered the room. 

"Good morning, Mr. Evenson," said Tibbs, very humbly, 
with something between a nod and bow. 

" How do you, Mr. Tibbs ? " repUed he of the slippers, 
sa he sat himself down, and began to read his paper without 
Baying another word. 

" Is Mr. Wisbottle in town to-day, do you know, sir ? " 
inquired Tibbs, just for the sake of saying something. 

"I should think he was," replied the stem gentleman. 
^'He was whistling 'The Light Guitar,' iu the next room to 
mine, at five o'clock this morning." 

" He 's very fond of whistling," said Tibbs, with a slight 
fimirk. 

" Yes — I ain't," was the laconic reply. 

Mr. John Evenson was in the receipt of an independent 
income, arising chiefly firom various houses he owned in the 
different suburbs. He was very morose and discontented. 
He was a thorough radical, and used to attend a great variety 
of public meetings, for the express purpose of finding fault 
witib everything that was proposed. Mr. Wisbottle, on the 
other hand, was a high Tory. He was a derk in the Woods 
.and Forests Ofice, which he considered rather an aristocratic 
-employment ; he knew the peerage by heart, and could tell 
you, off-hand, where any illustrious personage lived. He had 
a good set of teeth, and a capital tailor. Mr. Evenson looked 



282 SEETOHBS BY BOZ. 

on all these quaMcations with profound contempt ; and the 
consequence was that the two were always disputing, much to 
the edification of the rest of the house. It should be added, 
that, in addition to his paHdality for whistling, Mr. Wisbottle 
had a great idea of his singing powers. There were two 
other boarders, besides the gen^eman in the back drawing- 
room — Mr. Alfred Tomkins and Mr. Frederick O'Bleaiy. 
Mr. Tomkins was a derk in a wine-house; he was a con- 
noisseur in paintings, and had a wonderful eye for the pictu- 
resque. Mr. O'Bleary was an Irishman, recently imported ; 
he was in a perfectly wild state; and had come over to 
England to be an apotiiecary, a derk in a goyemment ofiGLce, 
an actor, a xeporter, or anything else that turned up — ^he was 
not particular. He was on familiar terms with two small 
Irish members, and got franks for every body in the house. 
He felt convinced that his intrinsic merits must procure him 
a high destiny. He wore shepherd's-plaid inexpressibles, and 
used to look under all the ladies' bonnets as he walked along 
the streets. His manners and appearance reminded one of 
Orson. 

" Here comes Mr. Wisbottle," said Tibbs ; and Mr. Wis- 
bottle forthwith appeared in blue slippers, and a shawl 
dressing-gown, whistling *' Di piacer" 

'* Good morning, sir," said Tibbs again. It was almost the 
only thing he ever said to anybody. 

" How are you, Tibbs ? " condescendingly replied the 
amateur ; and he walked to the window, and whistled louder 
than ever. 

" Pretty air, that !" said Evenson, with a snarl, and without 
taking his eyes oif the paper. 

" Glad you like it," replied Wisbottle, highly gratified. 

" Don't you think it would sound better, if you whistled it 
a little louder ? " inquired the mastiff. 

"No; I don't think it would," rejoined the unconscious 
Wisbottle. 

" I 'U tell you what, Wisbottle," said Evenson, who had been 
bottling up his anger for some hours — "the next time you 
fed disposed to whistle ' The Light Guitar * at five o'clock in 
the morning, I '11 trouble you to whistle it with your head out 
o' window. If you don't, I'U learn the triangle — I wiU by — " 

The entrance of Mrs. Tibbs (with the keys in a little basket) 
interrupted the threat, an^ prevented its condusion. 



THB BOAaDIKG-HOirSB. 28S 

Mrs. Tibbs apologised for being down rather late ; the bell 
was rung ; James brought up the van, and reoeived an un- 
limited order for dry toast and baoon. Tibbs sat down at the 
bottom of the table, and began eating water-cresses like 
a Nebuchadnezzar. Mr. O'Bleaiy appeared, and Mr. Alfred 
Tomkins. The compliments of the morning were exchanged^ 
and the tea was made. 

** Qod bless me ! " ezchdmed Tomkins, who had been look- 
ing out at the window. " Here — ^Wisbottle — ^pray come here 
— make hasto." 

Mr. Wisbotde started from the table, and eveiy one 
looked up. 

'' Do you see," said the connoisseur, placing Wiabottle in 
the right position — '* a little more this way : there^do you 
see how splendidly the Hght fidls upon the left side of that 
broken ddmney-pot at No. 48 ? " 

" Dear me ! I see,'' replied Wisbotde, in a tone of admi- 
ration. 

" I neyer saw an object stand out so beautifully against the 
dear eky in my Hfe," ejaculated Alfred. Everybody (except 
John Evenson) echoed the sentiment ; for Mr. Tomkins had a 
great character for finding out beauties which no one else 
could discover — ^he certainly deserved it. 

"I have frequently observed a chimney-pot in College- 
green, Dublin, which has a much better effect," said the 
patriotic O'Bleaiy, who never allowed Ireland to be outdone 
on any point. 

The assertion was received with obvious increduL'ty, for 
Mr. Tomkins declared that no other chimney-pot in the 
United Kingdom, broken or unbroken, could be so beautifril 
as the one at No. 48. 

The room-door was suddenly thrown open, and Agnes 
appeared leading in Mrs. Bloss, who was dressed in a gera- 
nium-coloured muslin gown, and displayed a gold wateh of 
huge dimensions ; a chain to match ; and a splendid assort- 
ment of rings, with enormous stones. A general rush was 
made for a chair, and a regular introduction took place. Mr. 
John Evenson made a sl^ht inclination of the head; Mr. 
Frederick O'Bleaiy, Mr. Alfr^ Tomkins, and Mr. Wisbottle, 
bowed like the mandarins in a grocer's shop ; Tibbs rubbed 
hands, and went round in circles. He was observed to dose 
one eye, and to assume a clock-work sort of expression with 



S84 SKBTCHSS BT BOZ. 

the other; this has been considered as a wink, and it has 
been reported that Agnes was its object. We repel the 
Galumny, and challenge contradiction. 

Mrs. libbs inqiiired after Mrs. Bloss's health in a low tone. 
Mrs. BloBS, with a supreme contempt for the memory of 
Lindley Murray, answered the various questions in a most 
satis£Bictory*mann6r ; and a pause ensued, during which the 
eatables disappeared with aw^ rapidily. 

'' You must have been very much pleased with the appear- 
ance of the ladies going to the drawing-room the other day, 
Mr. O'Bleary ? " said ^Lns. libbs, hoping to start a topic. 

'* Yes,'' replied Orson, with a mouthful of toast. 

" Never saw anything like it before, I suppose ?" suggested 
Wisbottle. 

''No — except the Lord Lieutenant's levees," replied 
O'Bleary. 

" Are they at all equal to our drawing-rooms ? " 

" Oh, infinitely superior ! '* 

" Gad ! I don't know," said the aristocratio Wisbottle, 
*' the Dowager Marchioness of PubKccash was most magnifi- 
cently dressed, and so was the Baron Slappenbachenhausen." 

'' What was he presented on ? " inquired Evenson. 

" On his arrival in England." 

" I thought so," growled the radical ; " you never hear of 
these fellows being presented on their going away again. 
They know better than that." 

" Unless somebody pervades them with an aplntment," 
said Mrs. Bloss, joining in the conversation in a faint voice. 

** Well," said Wisbottle, evading the point, ''it's a splendid 
sight." 

" And did it never occur to you," inquired the radical, who 
never would be quiet ; " did it never occur to you, that you 
pay for these precious ornaments of society ? " 

" It certainly hoe occurred to me," said Wisbottle, who 
thought this answer was a poser; " it has occurred to me, and 
I am willing to pay for thiODi." 

" Well, and it has 'occurred to me too," replied John Even- 
son, " and I ain't willing to pay for 'em. Then why should 
I ? — ^I say, why should I ? " continued the politician, laying 
down the paper, and knocking his knuckles on the table. 
" There are two great principles — demand — "' 

" A cup of tea if you please, dear," interrupted Tibba 



THB BOARDING-HOUS& 285 

" And supply— " 

" May I trouble jou to hand this tea to Mr. Tibbs ? * said 
Mrs. Tibbs, interrupting the argument, and unconsoioufily 
illustrating it. 

The thread of the orator's discourse was broken. He drank 
his tea and resumed the paper. 

" If it 's very fine," said Mr. Alfred Tomkins, addressing 
the company in general, " I shall ride down to Richmond to- 
day, and come back by the steamer* There are some splendid 
effects of light and shade on the Thames ; the contrast between 
the blueness of the sky and the yellow water is frequently 
ezoeediQgly beautifrd." Mr. Wisbottle hummed, ** Flow on, 
thou shining river." 

<<We have some splendid steam-vessels in Ireland," said 
O'Bleaiy. 

*' Certainly," said Mrs. Bloss, delighted to find a subject 
broached in which she could take part. 

** The accommodations are extraordinary," said O'Bleary. 

"Extraordinary indeed," returned ^ta. Bloss. "When 
Mr. Bloss was alive, he was promiscuously obligated to go to 
Ireland on business. I went with him, and raly the manner 
in which the ladies and gentlemen were accommodated with 
berths, is not creditable." 

Tibbs, who had been lisieniag to the dialogue, looked 
aghast, and evinced a strong inclination to ask a question, but 
was checked by a look from his wife. Mr. Wisbotde laughed, 
and said Tomkins had made a pun ; and Tomkins laughed 
too, and said he had not. 

The remainder of the meal passed off as breakfasts usually 
do. Conversation flagged, and people played with their tea- 
spoons. The gentlemen looked out at the window; walked 
about the room ; and, when they got near the door, dropped 
off one by one. Tibbs retired to the back parlour by his 
wife's orders, to check the greengrocer's weekly account; 
and ultimately Mrs. Tibbs and Mrs. Bloss were left alone 
together. 

" Oh dear ! " said the latter, "I feel alarmingly fEiint; it's 
very singular." (It certainly was, for she had eaten four 
pounds of solids that morning.) " By-the-by," said Mrs. 
Bloss, " I have not seen Mr. What 's his name yet." 

" Mr. Gobler?" BU£^;ested Mrs. Tibbs. 

** Yes." 



^6 SEBTGHBS BT BOZ. 

" Oh ! *' said Mrs. Tibbs, '* he is a most mjrsterioua person. 
He h£U9 his meals regularly sent up-stairs, and sometimes don't 
leave his room for weeks together." 

'* I haven't seen or heard nothing of him/' repeated I^frs. 
Bloss. 

"I dare say you'U hear him to-night," replied Mrs. 
Tibbs; ''he generally groans a good deal on Sunday 
evenings." 

" 1 never felt such an interest in any one in my life," 
ejaculated Mrs. Bloss. A little double-knock interrupted the 
•conversation ; Doctor Wosl^ was announced, and duly shown 
in. He was a little man with a red fSetce, — dressed of course 
in black, with a stiff white neckerchief. He had a very good 
practice, and pleniy of money, which he had amassed by 
invariably humouring the worst fancies of all the females <^ 
all the families he had ever been introduced into. Mrs. Tibbe 
offieied to retire, but was entreated to stay. 

"Well, my dear ma'am, and how are we?" inquired 
Wosky, in a soothing tone. 

" Very iU, doctor — ^very ill," said Mrs. Bloss, in a whii^per. 

" Ah ! we must take care of ourselves ; — ^we must, indeed," 
said the obsequious Wosky, as he felt the pulse of his interest- 
ing patient. 

" How is our appetite ? " 

Mrs. Bloss shook her head. 

" Our Mend requires great care," said Wosky, appealing 
to Mrs. Tibbs, who of course assented. " I hope, however, 
with the blessing of Providence, that we shall be enabled to 
make her quite stout again." Mrs. Tibbs wondered in her 
own mind what the patient would be when she was made 
quite stout. 

" We must take stimulants," said the cunning Wosky — 
" plenty of nourishment, and, above aU, we must keep our 
nerves quiet ; we positively must not give way to our sensi- 
bilities. We must take all we can get," concluded the doctor, 
as he pocketed his fee, *' and we must kqep quiet." 

" Dear man ! " ezdaimed Mrs. Bloss, as the doctor stepped 
into his carriage. 

<< Charming creature indeed-— quite a lady's man ! " said 
Mrs. Tibbs, and Doctor Wosky rattled away to make ftesh 
gulls of delicate females, and pocket fresh fees. 

As we had occasion, in a former paper, to describe a dinner 



THE BOARDIKG-HOUSB. 287 

xit Mrs. Tibbs's ; and as one meal went off veiy like anothei 
on all ordinary occasions ; we will not fatigue our readers by 
entering into any other detailed account of the domestic 
economy of the establishment. We will therefore proceed to 
events, merely premising that the mysterious tenant of the 
back drawing-room was a lazy, selfish, hypochondriac ; always 
complaining and never ilL As his character in many respects 
closely assimilated to that of Mrs. Bloss, a very warm friend- 
ship soon sprung up between them. He was tall, thin, and 
pale ; he always fancied he had a severe pain somewhere or 
other, and his face invariably wore a pinched, screwed-up 
expression ; he looked, indeed, like a man who had got his 
feet in a tub of exceedingly hot water, against his will. 

For two or three months after Mrs. Bloss's first appearance 
in Coram-street, John Evenson was observed to become, every 
day, more sarcastio, and more ill-natured ; and there was a 
degree of additional importance in his manner, which clearly 
showed that he fancied he had discovered something, which 
he only wanted a proper opportunity of divulging. He fbnnd 
it at last. 

One evening, the difGarent inmates of the house were 
assembled in the drawing-room engaged in their ordinary 
occupations. Mr. Gobler and Mrs. Bloss were sitting at a 
small card-table near the centre window, playing cribbage ; 
Mr. Wisbottle was describing semicircles on the music-stool, 
turning over the leaves of a book on the piano, and humming 
most melodiously ; Alfred Tomkins was sitting at the round 
table, with his elbows duly squared, making a pencil sketch of 
a head considerably laiger than his own; O'Bleary was 
reading Horace, and trying to look as if he understood it ; and 
John Evenson had drawn his chair dose to Mrs. Tibbs's work- 
table, and was talking to her very earnestly in a low tone. 

'* I can assure you, Mrs. Tibbs," said the radical, laying 
his forefinger on the muslin she was at work on ; ''I can 
assure you, Mrs. Tibbs, that nothing but the interest I take in 
your welfare would induce me to make this communication. 
I repeat, I fear Wisbottle is endeavouring to gain the affec- 
tions of that young woman, Agnes, and that he is in the habit 
of meeting her in the store-room on the first floor, over the 
leads. From my bedroom I distinctly heard voices there, last 
night. I opened my door immediately, and crept very softly 
on to the landing : there I saw Mr. Tibbs, who, it seems, hod 



288 8EBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

been disturbed aLso. — ^Bless me, Mrs. Tibbs, you changb 
oolour ! " 

''Noy no — it's nothing/' returned Mrs. T. in a hurried 
manner ; '' it 's only the heat of the room." 

"A flush!" ejaculated Mrs. Bloss from the card-table; 
"that's good for four." 

"If I thought it was Mr. Wisbottle," said Mrs. Tibbs, 
after a pause, " he should leave this bouse instantly " 

" Go ! " said Mrs. Bloss again. 

"And if I thought, continued the hostess with a most 
threatening air, "if I thought be was assisted by Mr. 
Tibbs"— 

"One for his nob!" said Gobler. 

" Oh/' said Evenson, in a most soothing tone— be liked to 
make mischief — " I should hope Mr. Tibbs was not in any 
way implicated. He always appeared to me yeiy harmless." 

"I have generally found him so/' sobbed poor little Mn. 
libbs ; crying like a watering-pot. 

" Hush ! hush ! pray — ^Mrs. Tibbs— ^^nsider — we shall be 
observed — pray, don't!" said John Evenson, fearing Ms 
whole plan would be interrupted. " We will set the matter 
at rest with the utmost care, and I shaU be most happy to 
assist you in doing so." 

Mrs. Tibbs murmured her thanks. 

" When you think every one has retired to rest to-night,^ 
said Evenson veiy pompously, " if you 'U meet me without a 
light, just outside my bedroom-door, by the staircase-window, 
I think we can ascertain who the parties really are, and you 
will afterwards be enabled to proceed as you think proper." 

Mrs. Tibbs was easily persuaded; her curiosity was ezoitedy 
her jealousy was roused, and the arrangement was ^srthwitii 
made. She resumed her work, and John Evenson walked i^ 
and down the room with his hands in his pockets, looking as 
if nothing had happened. The game"^ of cribbage was over, 
and conversation began again. 

"Well, Mr. O'Bleary," said the humming top, turning 
round on his pivot, and fistcing the company, "what did you 
think of Vauxhall the other night ? " 

" Oh, it 's very fair," replied Orson, who had been enthu- 
siastically delighted with the whole exhibition. 

"Never saw anything like that Captain Ross's set-out 
•^?" 



THB BOAKDINQ-HOITSB. 289 

** No/' returned the patriot, with his usual reservation-— 
" except in Dublin." 

" I saw the Count de Canky and Captain Fitzthompson in the 
Gardens/' said Wisbottle ; '' they appeared much delighted." 

** Then it must be beautiful," snarled Evenson. 

"I think the white bears is partickerlerly well done," 
suggested Mrs. Bloss. '' In their shaggy white coats they 
look just like Polar bears— don't you think they do, Mr. 
Evenson?" 

^* I think they look a great deal more like omnibus cads on 
all fours," replied the discontented one. 

" Upon the whole, I should have liked our evening very 
well," gasped Gobler ; '' only I caught a desperate cold which 
increased my pain dreadj^y ! I was obliged to have several 
shower-baths, before I could leave my room." 

'* Capital things those shower-baths ! " ejaculated Wisbottle. 

"Excellent!" said Tomkins. 

''Delightful!" chimed in O'Bleary. (He had once seea 
one outside a tinman's.) 

'' Disgusting machines ! " rejoined Evenson, who extended 
his dislike to almost every created olject, masculine, femininei, 
or neuter. 

"Disgusting, Mr. Evenson!" said Gobler, in a tone of 
strong indignation. — '' Disgusting ! Look at their utility— « 
consider how many Hves they have saved by promoting per- 
spiration." 

'' Promoting perspiration, indeed," growled John Evenson, 
stopping short in his walk across the large squares in the 
pattern of the carpet — '' I was ass enough to be persuaded 
some time ago to have one in my bed-room. 'Gad, I was in it 
once, and it effectually cured m^, for the mere sight of it threw 
me into a profuse perspiration for six months afterwards." 

A titter followed this announcement, and before it had 
subsided James brought up ''the tray," containing the 
remains of a leg of lamb which had made its debvA at dinner ; 
bread ; cheese ; an atom of butter in a forest of parsley ; one 
pickled walnut and the third of another, and so forth. The 
boy disappeared, and returned again witii another tray, con« 
twining glasses and jugs of hot and cold water. The gentle- 
men brought in their spirit bottles; the housemaid placed 
divers plated bedroom candlesticks under the card-table ; aud 
the servants retired for the night. 



290 SEBTGHSS BT BOZ. 

Chairs were drawn round the table, and the couversatian 
proceeded in the customary manner. John Eyenson, who 
never ate supper, lolled on the sofa, and amused liiTnuAlf by 
contradicting every body. O'Bleary eat as much as he could 
conveniently carry, and Mrs. Tibbs felt a due degree of indig- 
nation thereat ; Mr. Oobler and Mrs. Bloss conversed most 
affectionately on the subject of pill-taJdng and other innocent 
amusements : and Tomldns a^d Wisbottle '' got into an argu- 
ment ; " that is to say, they both talked very loudly and 
vehemently, each flatteoring himself that he had got some 
advantage about something, and neither of them having more 
than a very indistinct idea of what they were talking about 
An hour or two passed away ; and the boarders and the brass 
candlesticks retired in pairs to their respective bedrooms. 
John Evenson pulled off his boots, locked his door, and 
determined to sit up until Mr. Gobler had retired. He 
always sat in the drawing-room an hour afl;er everybody else 
had left it, taking medicine, and groaning. 

Great Coram-street was hushed into ft state of profound 
repose: it was nearly two o'clock. A hackney-coach now 
and then rumbled slowly by; and occasionally some stray 
lawyer's derk, on his way home to Somers'-town, struck his 
iron heel on the top of the coal-cellar with a noise resembling 
the dick of a smoke-jack. A low, monotonous, gushing 
sound was heard, which added considerably to the romantic 
dreariness of the scene. It was the water " coming in " at 
number eleven. 

*' He must be adeep by this time," said John Evenson to 
himself after waiting wilji exemplary patience for nearly an 
hour after Mr. Gobler had left the drawing room. He 
listened for a few moments ; the house was perfectly quiet ; 
he extinguished his rushlight, and opened his bedroom-door. 
The staircase was so dark that it was impossible to see any- 
thing. 

" S — s — s ! " whispered the mischief-maker, making a 
noise like the first indication a catherine-whed gives of the 
probabiliiy of its going off. 

" Hush ; " whi^ered somebody else. 

" Is that you, Mrs. Tibbs ? " 

"Yes, sir," 

"Where?" 

" Here ; " and the misty outline of Mrs. Tibbs appeared at 



THB BOAEDING-HOUSE. 291 

ihe staircase window like the ghost of Queen Anne in the 
tent scene in Bichard. 

"This way, Mrs, Tibbs," whispered the delighted busy- 
l)ody : " give me your hand — ^there ! Whoever these people 
are, they are in the store-room now, for I have been looking 
down from my window, and I conld see that they accidentally 
upset their candlestick, and are now in darkness. You have 
no shoes on, have you ? " 

'' No,'' said little Mrs. Tibbs, who could hardly speak for 
trembling. 

" Well ; I have taken my boots oS, so we can go down, 
•close to the store-room-door, and listen over the banisters ; " 
and down stairs they both crept, accordingly, eveiy board 
oreaking like a patent mangle on a Saturday aitemoon. 

** It 's Wisbottle and somebody I 'U swear," exclaimed the 
radical in an energetic whisper, when they had listened for a 
few moments. 

" Hush — ^pray let 's hear what they say ! " exclaimed Mrs. 
Tibbs, the gratification of whose curiosity was now paramount 
to every other consideration. 

'^ Ah ! if I could but believe you," said a female voice 
<K)qu6ttishly, '' I 'd be bound to settle my missis for life." 

*' What does she say ? " inquired Mr. Evenson, who was 
not quite so well situated as his companion. 

" She says she 'U settle her missis's life," replied Mrs. 
Tibbs. "The wretch! they 're plotting murder." 

" I know you want money," continued the voice, which 
belonged to Agnes ; " and if you 'd secure me the five hundred 
pound, I warrant die should take fire soon enough." 

'* What 's that ? " inquired Evenson again. He could just 
ihear enough to want to hear more. 

" I thii^ she says she 'U set the house on fire," replied the 
afiOrighted Mra. Tibbs. " But thank God I 'm insured in the 
Pho3nix ! " 

" The moment I have secured your mistress, my dear," said 
a man's voice in a strong Irish brogue, " you may depend on 
iiaving the money." 

" Bless my soul, it 's Mr. O'Bleaiy ! " exclaimed Mrs. 
Tibbs, in a parenthesis. 

" The villain ! " said the indignant Mr. Evenson. 

" The first thing to be done," continued the Hibernian, " is 
to poison Mr. Gobler's mind." 

v2 



292 SEETOHBS BT BOZ. 

** Oh, certainly ; " returned Agnes. 

" What *B that ? " inquired Evenson again, in an agony of 
curiosity and a whisper. 

" He says she 's to mind and poison Mr. Gobxcr," replied 
Mrs. Tibbs, aghast at this sacrifice of human life. 

" And in regard of Mrs. Tibbs," continued O'Bleaiy. — ^Mrs. 
Tibbs shuddered. 

" Hush ! " exclaimed Agnes, in a tone of the greatest 
alarm, just as Mrs. Tibbs was on the extreme verge of a 
fainting-fit. " Hush ! " 

** Hush ! " exclaimed Evenson, at the same moment to 
Mrs. Tibbs. 

" There 's somebody coming up stairs," said Agnes to 
O'Bleary. 

" There 's somebody coming down stairs," whispered Even- 
son to Mrs. Tibbs. 

" Go into the parlour, sir," said Agnes to her companion. 
'' You will get there, before whoever it is, gets to the top of 
the kitchen stairs." 

" The drawing-room, Mrs. Tibbs ! " whispered the astonished 
Evenson to his equally astonished companion; and for the 
drawing-room they both made, plainly hearing the rustling of 
two persons, one coming down stairs, and one coming up. 

" What can it be ? " exclaimed Mrs. Tibbs. " It 's like a 
dream. I wouldn't be found in this situation for the world ! " 

" Nor I/' returned Evenson, who could never bear a joke 
at his own expense. " Hush ! here they are at the door." 

" What fun ? " whispered one of the newcomers. — ^It was 
Wisbottle. 

^'Glorious!" replied his companion, in an equally low 
tone. — ^This was Alfred Tomkins. " Who would have thought 
it?" 

" I told you so," said Wisbottle, in a most knowing whisper. 
" Lord bless you, he has paid her most extraordinary attention 
for the last two months. I saw 'em when I was sitting at the 
piano to-night." 

"Well, do you know I didn't notice it?" interrupted 
Tomkins. 

"Not notice it!" continued Wisbottle. "Bless you; I 
saw him whispering to her, and she crying ; and then I 'II 
swear I heard him say something about to-night when 76 
were all in bed." 



THB BOARDING-HOUSE. S98 

" They 're talking of u» f " exdaimed the agonised Mrs. 
Tibbs, as the painful suspicion, and a sense of their situation^ 
flashed upon her mind. 

** I know it — I know it/' replied Evenson, with a melan- 
choly consciousness that there was no mode of escape. 

'* What 's to be done ? we cannot both stop here ! " ejacu- 
lated Mrs. Tibbs, in a state of partial derangement. 

" I 'U get up the chimney," replied Eyenson, who really 
meant what he said. 

" You can't," said Mrs. Tibbs, in despair. "You can't — 
it 's a register stove." 

" Hush ! " repeated John Evenson. 

" Hush — hush ! " cried somebody down stairs. 

"What a d — d hushing!" said Alfred Tomkins, who 
began to get rather bewildered. 

" There they are I " exclaimed the sapient Wisbottle, as a 
rustling noise was heard in the storeroom. 

" Hark ! " whispered both the young men. 

" Hark ! " repeated Mrs. Tibbs and Evenson. 

"Let me alone, sir," said a female voice in the store- 
room. 

" Oh, Hagnes ! " cried another voice, which clearly belonged 
to Tibbs, for nobody else ever owned one like it. " Oh, 
Hagnes — lovely creature ! " 

" Be quiet, sir ! " (A bounce.) 

"Hag—" 

" Be quiet, sir — I am ashamed of you. Think of your wife, 
Mr. Tibbs. Be quiet, sir ? " 

" My wife ! " exclaimed the valorous Tibbs, who was clearly 
under the influence of gin-and-water, and a misplaced attach- 
ment; " I ate her ! Oh, Hagnes ! when I was in the volun- 
teer corps, in eighteen hundred and — " 

** I declare I 'U scream. Be quiet, sir, will you ? " (Ano- 
ther bounce and a scuffle.) 

" What 's that ? " exclaimed Tibbs, with a start. 

" What 's what ? " said Agnes, stopping short. 

" Why, that ! " 

"Ah! you have done it nicely now, sir," sobbed the 
frightened Agnes, as a tapping was heard at Mrs. Tibbs' bed- 
room-door, which would have beaten any dozen woodpeckers 
hollow. 

"Mrs. Tibbs I Mrs. Tibbs!" caUed out Mrs. Bloss. "Mrs. 



294 SEBTCHKS BT BOZ. 

Tibbs, pray get up." (Here the imitation of a woodpecker 
was resumed with tenfold violence.) 

" Oh, dear — dear ! " exclaimed the wretched partner of th& 
depraved Tibbs. ** She 's knocking at my door. We must be 
discovered ! What will they think ? " 

*^ Mrs. Tibbs ! Mrs. Tibbs ! " screamed the woodpecker 
again. 

" What 's the matter ! " shouted Gtobler, bursting out of 
the back drawing-room, like the dragon at Astley's. 

" Oh, Mr. Gobler ! " cried Mrs. Bloss, with a proper ap- 
proximation to hysterics ; " I think the house is on fire, or 
else there 's thieves in it. I have heard the most dreadful 
noises ! " 

'^ The devil you have ! '' shouted Gbbler again, bouncing 
back into his den, in happy imitation of the aforesaid dragon, 
and returning immediately with a lighted candle. ''Why, 
what's this? Wisbottle ! Tomkdns ! O' Bleary ! Agnes! 
What the deuce ! all up and dressed ? " 

*' Astonishing ! " said Mrs. Bloss, who had run down stairs, 
and taken Mr. Gobler's arm. 

'* Call Mrs. Tibbs directly, somebody," said Gobler, turning 
into the froilt drawing-room. " What ! Mrs. Tibbs and Mr. 
Evenson ! ! " 

" Mrs. Tibbs and Mr. Evenson ! " repeated everybody, as 
that unhappy pair were discovered : Mrs. Tibbs seated in aa 
arm-<chair by the fireplace, and Mr. Evenson standing by her 
side. 

We must leave the scene that ensued to the reader's imagi* 
nation. We could teU, how Mrs. Tibbs forthwith fainted 
away, and how it required the united strength of Mr. Wis- 
bottle and Mr. Alfred Tomkins to hold her in her chair ; how 
Mr. Evenson explained, and how his explanation was evi- 
dently disbelieved; how Agnes repelled the accusations of 
Mrs. Tibbs, by proving that she was negotiating with Mr. 
O'Bleary to influence her mistress's affections in his behalf; 
and how Mr. Oobler threw a damp counterpane on the hopes 
of Mr. O'Bleary by avowing that he (Gobler) had already 
proposed to, and been accepted by, Mrs. Bloss; how Agnes 
was discharged from that lady's service; how Mr. O'Bleary 
discharged himself from Mrs. Tibbs's house, without going 
through the form of previously discharging his bill ; and how 
that disappoint^ young gentleman rails against England and 



. THB BOARDING-HOUSE. 295 

the English, and vows there is no virtue or fine feeling extant, 
" except in Ireland/' We repeat that we coidd tell all this, 
but we love to exercise our self-denial, and we therefore prefer 
leaving it to be imagined. 

The ladj whom we have hitherto described as Mrs. Bloss, 
is no more. Mrs. Gobler exists : Mrs. Bloss has lefb us for 
ever. In a secluded retreat in Newington Butts, far, far, 
removed from the noisy strife of thai great boarding-house, 
the world, the enviable Gobler and his pleasing wife revel in 
retirement ; happy in their complaints, their table, and their 
medicine ; wafted through life by the grateful prayers of all 
the purveyors of animal food within three miles round. 

We would willmgly stop here, but we have a painM duty 
imposed upon us which we must discharge. Mr. and Mrs. 
libbs have separated by mutual consent, Mrs. Tibbs receiving 
one moiety of 43^. 15«. 10(2., which we before stated to be the 
amount of her husband's annual. income, and Mr. libbs the 
other. He is spending the evening of his days in retirement ; 
and he is spending also, annually, that small but honourable 
independence. He resides among the original settlers at Wal- 
worth ; and it has been stated, on unquestionable authoriiy, 
that th.e conclusion of the volunteer story has been heard in a 
small tavenx in that respectable neighbourhood. 

The unfortunate Mrs. Tibbs has determined to dispose of 
the wbole of her i^imiture by public auction, and to retire 
ftGm a residence in which she has sufEered so much. Mr. 
Bobins has been applied to, to conduct the sale, and the 
transcendant abilities of the literary gentlemen connected with 
his establishment are now devoted to the task of drawing up 
the preliminary advertisement. It is to contain, among a 
variety of brilliant matter, seventy-eight words in large 
capitals, and six original quotations in inverted commas. 



296 8KBTCHBS BT BOZ. 



CHAPTER n. 

MB. lONNB AKD HIS COUSIN. 

Mb. August CIS Mtnns was a bachelor, of about ioxty as 
he said — of about eight-and-forty as his friends said. He 
was always exceedingly clean, precise, and tidy; perhaps 
somewhat priggish, and the most retiring man in the world. 
He usually wore a brown frock-coat without a wrinkle, light 
inezplicables without a spot, a neat neckerchief with a remark- 
ably neat tie, and boots without a &ult ; moreover, he always 
earned a brown sUk umbrella with an ivoiy handle. He was 
a derk in Somerset-house, or, as he said himself, he held 
** a responsible situation under Government." He ^had a 
good and increasing salary, in addition to some 10,0002. of 
his own (invested in the funds), and he occupied a first floor 
in Tavistock-street, Covent-garden, where he had resided for 
twenty years, having been in the habit of quarrelling with his 
landlord the whole time : regularly giving notice of his inten- 
tion to quit on the first day of every quarter, and as regularly 
countermanding it on the second. There were two classes of 
created objects which he held in the deepest and most un- 
mingled horror ; these were dogs, and children. He was not 
unamiable, but he could, at any time, have viewed the execu- 
tion of a dog, or the assassination of an infeuit, with the 
liveliest satisfaction. Their habits were at variance with his 
love of order ; and his love of order was as powerful as his 
love of life. Mr. Augustus Minns had no relations, in or 
near London, with the exception of his cousin, Mr. Octavius 
Budden, to whose son, whom he had never seen (for he dis- 
liked the father) he had consented to become godfather by 
proxy. Mr. Budden having realised a moderate fortune by 
exercising the trade or calling of a corn-chandler, and having 
a great predilection for the country, had purchased a cottage 
in the vicinity of Stamford-hiU, whither he retired with the 
wife of his bosom, and his only son, Master Alexander 
Augustus Budden. One evening, as Mr. and Mrs. B. were 
admiring their son, discussing his various merits, talking over 
his education, and disputing whether the classics should he 




' V////,^, // , 



MR. MINNS AND HIS OOUSIN. 297 

made an essential part thereof, the lady pressed so strongly 
upon her husband the proprieiy of cultivating the fiiendship 
of Mr. Minns in behalf of their son, that Mr. Budden at last 
made up his mind, that it should not be his fieiult if he and 
his cousin were not in future more intimate. 

** I 'U break the ice, my love," said Mr. Budden, stirring up 
the sugar at the bottom of his glass of brandy-and-water, 
and casting a sidelong look at his spouse to see the effect of 
the announcement of his determination, '^by asking Minns 
down to dine with us, on Sunday.'' 

" Then, pray Budden write to your cousin at once," replied 
Mrs. Budden. " Who knows, if we could only get him down 
here, but he might take a fancy to our Alexander, and leave 
him his property ? — Alick, my dear, take your legs off the 
raa of the chair!" 

" Very true," said Mr. Budden, musing, "very true, indeed, 
my love ! " 

On the following morning, as Mr. Minns was sitting at his 
breakfost-table, alternately biting his dry toast, and casting a 
look upon the colxmins of his morning paper, which he always 
read from the title to the printer's name, he heard a loud 
knock at the street-door ; which was shortly afterwards 
followed by the entrance of his servant, who put into his 
hand a particularly small card, on which was engraven in 
immense letters *' Mr. Octavius Budden, Amelia Cottage, 
(Mrs. B.'s name was Amelia,) Poplar-walk, Stamford-hill." 

** Budden ! " ejaculated Minns, '' what can bring that 
vulgar man here I — say I 'm asleep — say I 'm out, and shall 
never be home again — anything to keep him down stairs." 

*' But please, sir, the gentleman 's coming up," replied the 
servant: and the fact was made evident by an appalling 
creaking of boots on thd staircase accompanied by a patter- 
ing noise ; the cause of which, Minns could not, for the life 
of him, divine. 

"Hem! — show the gentleman in," said the unfortunate 
bachelor. Exit servant, and enter Octavius preceded by a 
large white dog, dressed in a suit of fleecy hosiery, with pink 
eyes, large ears, and no perceptible tail. 

The cause of the pattering on the stairs was but too plain. 
Mr. Augustus Minns staggered beneath the shock of the dog's 
appearance. 

" My dear fellow, how are you ?" said Budden, as he entered. 



293 SKETCHBS BY BOZ. 

He always spoke at the top of bis yoioe^ and always said 
the same thing half-ardozen times. 

" How axe you, my heady ? " 

"How do you do, Mr. Budden? — ^pray take a chair!'' 
politely stammered the discomfited Minns. 

" Thank you — ^thank you — ^weU — ^how are you, eh ? " 

" Uncommonly well, thank you," said Minns, casting a 
diabolical look at the dog, who, with his hind legs on the 
floor, and his fore paws resting on the table, was drawing 
a bit of bread-and-butter out of a plate preparatory to deyour- 
ing it, with the buttered side next the carpet. 

"Ab, you rogue!" said Budden to his dog; "you see, 
Minns, he 's like me, always at home, eh, my boy ? — ^Egad, 
I 'm precious hot and hungry! I 'ye walked all the way from 
Stamford-hiU this morning." 

" Have you breakfiasted ? " inquired Minns. 

" Oh, no ! — came to breakfEust with you ; so ring the bdl, 
my dear fellow, will you ? and let 's have another cup and 
saucer, and the cold ham. — ^Make myself at home you see I " 
continued Budden, dusting his boots with a table napkiix. 
" Ha ! — ^ha ! — ^ha ! — 'pon my life, I 'm hungry." 

Minns rang the beU, and tried to smile. 

" I decidedly never was so hot m my life," continued 
Octavius, wiping his forehead: "well, but how axe you, 
Minns ? Ton my soul, you wear capitally ! " 

'< D' ye think so ? " said Mimis ; and he tried another smile. 

"Ton my life, I do!" 

" Mrs. B. and — ^what's his name — quite well? " 

"Alick — ^my son, you mean, mover better — ^never better 
But at such a place as we We got at Poplar-walk, you know, 
he couldn't be ill if he tried. When I first saw it, by Jove ! 
it looked so knowing, with the front-garden, and the gieen 
railings, and the brass knocker, and all that — I really thought 
it was a cut above me." 

" Don't you think you 'd like the ham better," interrupted 
Minns, " if you cut it the other way ? " He saw, with feel- 
ings which it is impossible to describe, that his visitor was 
cutting or rather maiming the ham, in utter violation of all 
established rules. 

" No, thank ye," returned Budden, with the most barbarous 
indifference to crime, " I prefer it this way — ^it eats short 
But I say Minns, when will you come down and see us ? You 



MIL MINNS AND HIS COUSIN. 299^ 

will be delighted with the place ; I know you will. Amelia 
and I were talking about you the other night, and Amelia, 
said — another lump of sugar, please; thank ye — she said, 
don't you think you could contrive, my dear, to say to Mr. 
Minns, in a friendly way— come down, sir — damn the dog ! 
he 's spoiling your curtains, Minns — ^ha ! — ^ha ! — ^ha ! " Mi-n-na. 
leaped £rom his seat as though he had received the discharge 
from a galvanic batteiy. 

"CJome out, sir! — go out, hoo!" cried poor Augustus, 
keeping nevertheless, at a very respectM distance from the 
dog ; having read of a case of hydjrophobia in the paper of 
that morning. By dint of great exertion, much shouting, and 
a marvellous deal of poking under the tables with a stick and 
umbrella, the dog was at last dislodged, and placed on the 
jianding outside the door, where he immediately commenced 
a most appalling howling; at the same time vehemently 
scratching the paint off the two nicely-varnished bottom 
panels, until they resembled the interior of a back-gammon 
board. 

" A good dog for the country that ! " coolly observed 
Budden to the distracted Minns, ''but he's not much used 
to confinement. But now, Minns, when will you come down " 
I 'U take no denial, positively. Let 's see, to-day 's Thursday. 
— ^Will you come on Sunday ? We dine at five, don't say 
no— do." 

After a great deal of pressing, Mr. Augustus Minns, driven 
to despair, accepted the invitation and promised to be at 
Poplar-walk on tiie ensuing Sunday, at a quarter before five 
to the minute. 

*' Now mind the direction," said Budden : '' the coach goes 
from the Flower-pot, in Bishopsgate-street, every half hour. 
When the coach stops at the Swan, you 'U see, immediately 
opposite you, a white house." 

" Which is your house — I understand," said Minns, 
wishing to cut short the visit, and the story, at the same 
time. 

'* No, no, that 's not mine ; that 's Grogus's, the great 
ironmonger's. I was going to say — ^you turn down by the 
3ide of the white house till you can't go another step fiirther 
— ^mind that! — and then you turn to your right, by some 
stables — well ; dose to you, you 'U see a wall with ' Beware 
of the Dog' written on it in large letters — (Minns shuddered) 



300 SKBTCHES BY BOZ. 

— ^go along by the side of that waU for about a quarter of a 
mile — and anybody will fihow you which is my place.*' 

" Very well — ^thank ye— good bye." 

" Be ptmctual." 

" Certainly : good morning." 

" I say, Minns, you *ve got a card." 

"Yes, I have: thank ye." And Mr. Octavius Budden 
departed, leaving his cousin looking forward to his visit of 
the following Sunday, with the feelings of a penniless poet to 
the weekly visit of hiB Scotch landlady. 

Sunday arrived; the sky was bright and dear; crowds of 
people were hurrying along the streets, intent on their dif- 
ferent schemes of pleasure for the day ; eveiything and every- 
body looked cheerful and happy except Mr. Augustus Minns. 

The day waa fine, but the heat was considerable ; when 
Mr. Minns had fSEi^;ed up the shady side of Fleet-street, 
Cheapside, and Threadneedle-street, he had become pretty 
warm, tolerably dusty, and it waa getting late into the bar- 
gain. By the most extraoidinary good fortune, however, a 
coach was waiting at the Flower-pot, into which Mr. Augustus 
Minns got, on the solemn assurance of the cad that the yehide 
would start in three minutes — that being the very utmost 
extremity of time it was allowed to wait by Act of Parlia- 
ment. A quarter of an hour elapsed, and there were no signs 
of moving. Minns looked at his watch for the sixth time. 

''Coachman, are you going or not?" bawled Mr. Minns, 
with his head and half his body out of the coach-window. 

'* Di — erectly, sir," said the coachman, with his hands in 
his pockets, looking as much unlike a man in a hurry as 
possible. 

"Bill, take them doths off." Five minutes more elapsed; 
at the end of which time the coachman mounted the box, 
from whence he looked down the street, and up the street, 
and hailed all the pedestrians for another five minutes. 

" Coachman ! if you don't go this moment, I shall get 
out," said Mr. Minns, rendered desperate by the lateness of 
the hour, and the impossibility of being in Poplar-walk at 
the appointed time. 

" Going this minute, sir," was the reply; — and, accordingly, 
tlie machine trundled on for a couple of hundred yards, and 
then stopped again. Minns doubled himself up in a comer 
of the coach, and abandoned himself to his fiite as a child, 



MR. MINNS AND HIS OOUSIN. 801 

a mother, a bandbox, and a parasol, became liis feUow 
passengers. 

The child was an affectionate and an amiable infant ; the 
little dear mistook Minns for his other parent, and screamed 
to embrace him. 

^'Be quiet, dear," said the mamma, restraining the im- 
petuosity of the darling, whose little jGEtt legs were kicking, 
and stamping, and twining themselyes into the most compli- 
cated forms in an ecstacy of impatience. '' Be quiet, dear, 
that 's not your papa." 

'' Thank Heaven I am not ! " thought Minns, as the first 
gleam of pleasure he had experienced that morning shone like 
a meteor through his wretchedness. 

PlayAilness was agreeably mingled with affection in the 
disposition of the boy. When satisfied that Mr. Minns was 
not his parent, he endeavoured to attract his notice by scraping 
his drab trousers with his dirty shoes, poking his chest with 
his mamma's parasol, and other nameless endearments peculiar 
to infancy, with which he beguiled the tediousness of the ride, 
apparentiy very much to his own satisfaction. 

When the unfortunate gentieman arrived at the Swan, he 
found to his great dismay, that it was a quarter past five. 
The white house, the stables, the " Beware of the Dog," — 
every landmark was passed with a rapidity not imusual to a 
gentieman of a certain age when too late for dinner. After 
the lapse of a few minutes, Mr. Minns found himself opposite 
a yellow brick house with a green door, brass knocker and 
door-plate, green window-frames and ditto railings, with ** a 
garden " in front, that is to say, a smaU loose bit of gravelled 
ground, with one round and two scalene triangular beds, con- 
taining a fir-tree, twenty or thirty bulbs, and an unlimited 
numb^ of marigolds. The taste of Mr. and Mrs. Budden 
was further displayed by the appearance of a Cupid on each 
side of the door, perched upon a heap of large chalk flints, 
variegated with pink conch-shells. His knock at the door 
was answered by a stumpy boy, in drab livery, cotton 
stockings, and high-lows, who, after hanging his hat on one 
of the dozen brass pegs which ornamented the passage, 
denominated by courtesy ^^The Hall," ushered him into a 
front drawing-room, commanding a veiy extensive view of the 
backs of the neighbouring houses, llie usual ceremony of 
introduction, and so forth, over, Mr. Minns took his seat : not 



502 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

a litde agitated at Snding that lie was the last comer, and, 
somehow or other, the Lion of about a dozen people, sitting 
together in a small drawing-room, getting zid of that most 
tedious of all time, the time preceding dinner. 

''Well, Brogson," said Budden, addressing an elderly 
gentleman in a black coat, drab knee-breeches, and long 
gaiters, who, under pretence of inspecting the prints in an 
Annual, had been engaged in satisfying himself on the sub- 
ject of Mr. Minus's general appearance, by looking at him 
over the tops of the leaves — "Well, Brogson, what do 
Ministers mean to do ? Will they go out, or what ? " 

*< Oh — ^why — ^really, you know, I 'm the last person in the 
world to ask for news. Your cousin, from his situation, is the 
most likely person to answer the question.'' 

Mr. Minns assured the last speaker, that although he was 
in Somerset-house, he possessed no official communication 
relative to the projects of his Majesty's Ministers. But bis 
remark was evidently received incredulously ; and no further 
conjectures being hazarded on the subject, a long pause 
ensued, during which the company occupied themselves in 
coughing and blowing their noses, until the entrance of Mis. 
Budden caused a general rise. 

The ceremony of introduction being over, dinner was 
announced, and down stairs the parfy proceeded accordingly 
— Mr. Minns escorting Mrs. Budden as far as the drawing- 
room door, but being prevented, by the narrowness of the 
staircase, £rom extending his gallantry any farther. The 
dinner passed off as such dinners usually do. Ever and anon, 
amidst the clatter of knives and forks, and the hum of conver- 
sation, Mr. B.'s voice might be heard, aaking a Mend to take 
wine, and assuring him he was glad to see him ; and a great 
deal of by-play took place between Mrs. B. and the servants, 
respecting the removal of the dishes, during which her coun- 
tenance assumed all the variations of a weather-glass, from 
"stormy" to "set fair." 

Upon the dessert and wine being placed on, the table, the 
servant, in compliance with a significant look from Mrs. B., 
brought down "Master Alexander," habited in a sky-blue 
fiuit with silver buttons ; and possessing hair of nearly the 
same colour as the metal. After sundry praises froia his 
mother, and various admonitions as to his behaviour £com bis 
fether, he was introduced to his godfather. 



MR. MINNS AND HIS OOUSIN. 808 

'* Well, my little fellow — ^you are a fine boy, ain't you? " 
said Mr. Minnfl, as happy as a tomtit on birdlime. 

"Yes." 

"How old are you?" 

" Eight, next We'nsday. How old are you f " 

" Alexander," interrupted his mother, " how dare you ask 
Mr. Minns how old he is ! " 

" He asked me how old I was," said the precocious child, 
to whom Minns had firom that moment internally resolved 
that he never would bequeath one shilling. Ajs soon as the 
titter occasioned by the observation, had subsided, a little 
smirking man with red whiskers, sitting at the bottom of the 
table, who during the whole of dinner had been endeavouring 
to obtain a listener to some stories about Sheridan, called out, 
with a very patronising air — "Alick, what part of speech 

" A verb." 

*' That 's a good boy," said Mrs. Budden with all a mother's 
pride. " IJow, you know what a verb is ? " 

" A verb is a word which signifies to be, to do, or to suffer; 
as, I am — I rule — I am ruled. Give me an apple, Ma." 

" I 'U give you an apple," replied the man with the red 
whiskers, who was an*estabHshed iriead. of the family, or in 
other words was always invited by Mrs. Budden, whether Mr. 
Budden liked it or not, "if you'll teU me what is the 
meaning of be" 

"Be?" said the prodigy, after a little hesitation — "an 
insect that gathers honey." 

"No, dear," frowned Mrs. Budden; "B double E is the 
substantive." 

"I don't think he knows much yet about common sub- 
stantives," said the smirking gentieman, who thought this an 
admirable opportunity for letting off a joke. " It 's dear he 's 
not very well acquainted with proper names. He ! He ! He ! " 

" Gentlemen," called out Mr. Budden, firom the end of the 
table, in. a stentorian voice, and with a very important air, 
" will you have the goodness to charge your glasses ? I have 
a toast to propose." 

" Hear ! hear ! " cried the gentlemen, passing the decanters. 
After they had made the round of the table, Mr. Budden pro- 
ceeded — " Gendemen ; there is an individual present — " 

" Hear ! hear ! " said the little man with red whiskers. 



804 SKBTCHSS BT BOZ. 

" Pray be quiet, Jones/' remonstrated Budden. 

'' I say, gentlemen, there is an indiyidnal present/' resumed 
the host, *' in whose society, I am sure we must take great 
delight — and — and — ^the oonversation of that individual must 
have afforded to every one present, the utmost pleasure." 
[** Thank Heaven, he does not mean me ! " thought MinTia^ 
conscious that his dif&dence and exdusiveness had preyented 
his saying above a dozen words since he entered the house.] 
'* Gentlemen, I am but a humble individual myselJ^ and I 
perhaps ought to apologise for allowing any individual feelings 
of friendship and affection for the person I allude to, to induce 
me to venture to rise, to propose the health of that person — a 
person that I am sure — ^&t is to say, a person whose virtues 
must endear him to those who know him — and those who 
have not the pleasure of knowing him, cannot dislike him." 

^' Hear I hear ! " said the company, in a tone of encourage- 
ment and approval. 

'' Gentlemen/' continued Budden, *' my cousin is a man 
who — who is a relation of my own." (Hear ! hear !) Minns 
groaned audibly. ** Who I am most happy to see here, and 
who, if he were not here, would certainly have deprived us of 
the great pleasure we all feel in seeing him. (Loud cries of 
hear !) Gentlemen, I feel that I have already trespassed oa 
your attention for too long a time. With every feeling — of — 
with every sentiment of — of — " 

" Gratification " — suggested the friend of the family. 

** — Of gratification, I beg to propose the health of Mr. 
Minns." 

''Standing, gentlemen!" shouted the indefatigable little 
man with the whiskers — '* and with the honours. Take your 
time from me, if you please. Hip ! hip ! hip ! — Za ! — Hip ! 
hip ! hip !— Za !— Hip ! hip !— Za— a— a ! " 

All eyes were now fixed on the subject of the toast, who by 
gulping down port-wine at the imminent hazard of suffocation^ 
endeavoured to conceal his confusion. After as long a pause 
as decency would admit, he rose, but, as the newspapers some- 
times say in their reports, ''we regret that we were quite 
unable to give even the substance of the honourable gentle- 
man's observations." The words " present company — ^honour 
— ^present occasion," and " great happiness " — ^heaid oocaaion* 
ally, and repeated at intervals, with a cotmtenanoe expressive oi 
the utmost confusion and misery, convinced the company that 



MR. MINNS AND HIS COUSIN. 806 

be was making an excellent speech ; and, accordingly, on his 
resuming his seat, they cried *' Bravo ! " and manifested 
tomtdtuous applause. Jones, who had been long watching 
his opportunity, then darted up. 

" Budden," said he, " will you allow me to propose a toast?" 

" Certainly," replied Budden, adding in an under tone to 
Minns right across the table. ** Devilish sharp fellow that : 
you'll be very much pleased with his speech. He talks 
equally well on any subject." Minns bowed, and Mr. Jones 
proceeded : 

'' It has on several occasions, in various instances, under 
many circumstances, and in different companies, fallen to my 
lot to propose a toast to those by whom, at the time, I have 
had the honour to be surrounded. I have sometimes, I will 
cheerfully own — for why should I deny it? — felt ihe over- 
whelming nature of the task I have undertaken, and my 
own utter incapability to do justice to the subject. If such 
have been my feelings, however, on former occasions, wI^At 
must they be now — ^now — ^under the extraordinary circum- 
stances in which I am placed. (Hear ! hear !) To describe 
my feelings accurately, would be impossible; but I cannot 
give you a better idea of them, gentlemen, than by referring 
to a circumstance which happens, oddly enough, to occur to 
my mind at the moment. On one occasion, when that truly 
great and illustrious man, Sheridan, was — " 

Now, there is no knowing what new viUany in the form of 
a joke would have been heaped on the grave of that very ill- 
used man, Mr. Sheridan, if the boy in drab had not at that 
moment entered the room in a breathless state, to report 
that, as it was a very wet night, the nine o'clock stage had 
come round, to know whether tiliere was anybody going to 
town, as, in that case, he (the nine o'clock) had room for one 
inside. 

Mr. Minns started up ; and, despite countless exclamations 
of surprise, and entreaties to stay, persisted in his determina- 
tion to accept the vacant place. But the brown silk umbrella 
was nowhere to be found ; and as the coachman couldn't wait, 
he drove back to the Swan, leaving word for Mr. Minns to 
" run round " and catch him. However, as it did not occur 
to Mr. Minns for some ten minutes or so, that he had left the 
brown silk umbrella with the ivoiy handle in the other coach, 
coming down ; and, moreover, as he was by no means remark* 

z 



806 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

able for speed, it is no matter of surpnse that when he accom- 
plished the feat of '' running round '' to the Swan, the coach 
— the last coach — ^had gone without him. 

It was somewhere about three o'clock in the morning, when 
Mr. Augustus Minns knocked feebly at the street-door of his 
lodgings in Tavistock-street, cold, wet, cross, and miserable. 
He made his will next morning, and his professional man 
informs us, in that strict confidence in which we inform the 
public, that neither the name of Mr. Octavius Budden, nor of 
Mrs. Amelia Budden, nor of Master Alexander Augustus 
Budden, appears therein. 



CHAPTER m. 

SENTIUEKT. 



The Miss Crumptons, or to quote the authority of tiie 
inscription on the garden-gate of Minerva House, Heanmer- 
smith, " The Misses Crumpton," were two unusually t^Il, par- 
ticularly thin, and exceedingly skinny personages; xerf 
upright, and very yellow. Miss Amelia Crumpton owned to 
thirty-eight, and Miss Maria Crumpton admitted she was 
forty ; an admission which was rendered perfectly unneoessaiy 
by the self-evident fact of her being at least fifty. They 
dressed in the most interesting manner — like twins; and 
looked as happy and comfortable as a couple of marigolds ran 
to seed. They were very precise, had lie strictest possible 
ideas of propriety, wore false hair, and always smelt very 
strongly of lavender. 

Minerva House, conducted under the auspices of the two 
sisters, was a ** finishing establishment for young ladies," 
where some twenty girls of the ages of fix)m thirteen to nine- 
teen inclusive, acquired a smattering of everything, and a 
knowledge of nothing; instruction in Fr^ich and Italian, 
dancing lessons twice a-week ; and other necessaries of life. 
The house was a white one, a little removed from the road- 
side, with dose palings in front. The bed-room windows 
were always left partly open, to afford a bird's eye view of 
numerous little bedsteads with very white dimity furniture. 




yan^'&TyjJxMMmky 



Vy//////^ /// 



SBNTIMENT. 807 

and tLereby impress the passer-by with a due sense of the 
luxuries of the establishment ; and there was a £x>nt parlour 
hung round with highly varnished maps which nobody ever 
looked at, and filled with books which no one ever read, 
appropriated exclusively to the reception of parents, who, 
whenever they called, could not fail to be struck with the very 
deep appearance of the place. 

^' Amelia, my dear," said Miss Maria Crumpton, entering 
the school-room one morning, with her false hair in papers : 
as she occasionally did, in order to impress the young ladies 
with a conviction of its reality. " Amelia, my dear, here is a 
most gratifying note I have just received. You neednH mind 
reading it aloud." 

Miss Amelia, thus advised, proceeded to read the following 
note with an air of great triumph : 

'' Cornelius Brook DingwaU, Esq., M.P., presents his com- 
pliments to Miss Crumpton, and wiU feel much obliged by 
Miss Crumpton's calling on him, if she conveniently can, to- 
morrow morning at one o'clock, as Cornelius Brook Dingwall, 
Esq., M.P., is anxious to see Miss Crumpton on the subject of 
placing Miss Brook Dingwall under her charge. 
*' Adelphi. 

" Monday morning." 

** A Member of Parliament's daughter ! " ejaculated Amelia, 
in an ecstatic tone. 

''A Member of Parliament's daughter!" repeated Miss 
Maria, with a smile of delight, which, of course, elicited a 
concurrent titter of pleasure from aU the young ladies. 

'' It 's exceedingly delightful ! " said Miss Amelia ; where- 
upon aU the young ladies murmured their admiration again. 
Courtiers are but school-boys, and court-ladies school-girls. 

So important an announcement, at once superseded the 
business of the day. A holiday was declared, in commemora- 
tion of the great event ; the Mleis Crumptons retired to their 
private apartment to talk it over ; the smaller girls discussed 
the probable manners and customs of the daughter of a 
Member of Parliament ; and the young ladies verging on 
eighteen wondered whether she was engaged, whether she 
was pretty, whether she wore much bustlO; and many other 
wJiethera of equal importance. 

z2 



808 SEBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

The two Miss Crtimptons prooeeded to the Adelphi at the 
appointed tiine next day, dressed, of oourse, in their best 
style, and looking as amiable as they possibly could — ^which, 
by the by, is not saying much for them. Having sent in 
their cards, through tiie medium of a red-hot looking footman 
in bright livery, they were ushered into the august presence 
of the profound Dingwall. 

Cornelius Brook Dingwall, Esq., M.P., was very haughty, 
solemn, and portentous. He had, naturally, a somewhat spas- 
modic expression of countenance, which was not rendered the 
less remarkable by his wearing an extremely sti£^ cravat. He 
was wonderfully proud of the M.P. attached to his name, and 
never lost an opportunity of reminding people of his dignify. 
He had a great idea of his own abilities, which must have 
been a great comfort to him, as no one else had; and in 
diplomacy, on a small scale, in his own fanuly arrangements, 
he considered himself unrivalled. He was a county magis- 
trate, and discharged the duties of his station with all due 
justice and impartiality ; frequently committing poachers, and 
occasionally committing himself. Miss Brook Diogwall was 
one of that numerous class of young ladies, who, like adverbs, 
may be known by their answering to a commonplace question, 
and doing nothing else. 

On the present occasion, this talented individual was seated 
in a small library at a table covered with papers, doing 
nothing, but trying to look busy — ^playing at shop. Acts of 
Parliament, and letters directed to ''Cornelius Brook Ding- 
wall, Esq., M.P.," were ostentatiously scattered over the 
table ; at a little distance from which, Mrs. Brook Dingwall 
was seated at work. One of those public nuisances, a spoiled 
chUd, was playing about the room, dressed after the most 
approved fashion — ^in a blue tunic with a black belt a quarter 
of a yard wide, fastened with an immense buckle — ^looking 
like a robber in a melodrama, seen through a diTninishing 
glass. 

After a little pleasantry from the sweet child, who amused 
himself by running away with Miss Maria Crumpton's chair 
as fast as it was placed for her, the visitors were seated, and 
Cornelius Brook Dingwall, Esq., opened the conversation. 

He had sent for Miss Crumpton, he said, in consequence of 
the higii character he had received of her establishment from 
his friend Sir Alfred Muggs. 



SBKTIHENT. 309 

Miss Crumpton murmured her acknowledgements to him 
(Muggs), and Cornelius proceeded. 

" One of my principal reasons. Miss Crumpton, for parting 
with my daughter, is, that she has lately acquired some senti- 
mental ideas, which it is most desirable to eradicate from her 
young mind." (Here the little innocent before noticed, fell 
out of an arm>chair with an awM crash.) 

" Naughty boy ! " said his mamma, who appeared more 
surprised at his taldng the liberty of falling down, than at 
anjrthing else; ''I'll ring the bell for James to take him 
away." 

'' Pray don't check him, my love," said the diplomatist, as 
soon as he could make himself heard amidst the unearthly 
howling consequent upon the threat and the tumble. '' It all 
arises from* his great flow of spirits." This last explanation 
was addressed to Miss Crumpton. 

''Certainly, sir," replied the antique Maria: not exactly 
seeing, however, the connexion between a flow of animal 
spirits, and a fall from an arm>chair. 

Silence was restored, and the M.P. resumed: "Now, I 
know nothing so likely to effect this object. Miss Crumpton, 
as her mixing constantly in the society of girls of her own 
age ; and, as I know that in your establishment she will meet 
such as are not likely to contaminate her young mind, I pro- 
pose to send her to you." 

The youngest Miss Crumpton expressed the acknowledge- 
ments of the establishment generally. Maria was rendered 
speechless by bodily pain. The dear little fellow, having 
recovered his animal spirits, was standing upon her most 
tender foot, by way of getting his fiwe (which looked like a 
capital O in a red lettered play-biU) on a level with the 
writing-table. 

" Of course, Lavinia will be a parlour boarder," continued 
the enviable father ; " and on one point I wish my directions 
to be strictly observed. The fact is, that some ridiculous love 
affair, with a person much her inferior in life, has been the 
cause of her present state of mind. Knowing that of course, 
under your care, she can have no opportunity of meeting this 
person, I do not object to — ^indeed, I should rather prefer — 
her mixing with such society as you see yourself." 

This important statement was again interrupted by the 
high-spirited little creature, in the excess of his joyousness 



810 SEBTCHBS BY BOZ. 

breaMng a pane of glass, and nearly precipitating himself 
into an adjacent area. James was rung for; considerable 
con^ion and screaming succeeded ; two little blue legs were 
seen to kick violentlj in the air as the man left the room, and 
the child was gone. 

'' Mr. Brook Dingwall would like Miss Brook Dingwall to 
learn everything," said Mrs. Brook Dingwall, who hardly 
ever said anything at all. 

" Certainly," said both the Miss Crumptons together. 

" And as I trust the plan I have devised will be effectual 
in weaning my daughter from this absurd idea, Miss Crump- 
ton," continued the legislator, *' I hope you will have the 
goodness to comply, in all respects, with any request I may 
forward to you." 

The promise was of course made, and after a lengthened 
discussion, conducted on behalf of the DingwaUs with the 
most becoming diplomatic gravity, and on that of the Crump- 
tons with profound respect, it was finally arranged that Miss 
Lavinia should be forwarded to Hammersmith on the next 
day but one, on which occasion Ihe half-yearly ball given at 
the establishment was to take place. It might divert the 
dear girPs mind. This, by the way, was another bit of 
diplomacy. 

Miss Lavinia was introduced to her future governess, and 
both the Miss Crumptons pronounced her '' a most charming 
girl ; " an opinion which, by a singular coincidence, th^ 
always entertained of any new pupil. 

Courtesies were exchanged, acknowledgements expressed, 
condescension exhibited, and the interview terminated. 

Preparations, to make use of theatrical phraseology, ** on a 
scale of magnitude never before attempted," were incessantly 
made at Minerva House to give every effect to the forth- 
conung ball. The largest room in the house was pleasingly 
ornamented with blue calico roses, plaid tulips, and olher 
equally natural-looking artificial flowers, the work of the 
young ladies themselves. The carpet was taken up, the fold- 
ing-doors were taken down, the furniture was taken out, and 
rout-seats were taken in. The linen-drapers of Hammersmith 
were astounded at the sudden demand for blue sarsenet 
ribbon, and long white gloves. Dozeni^ of geraniums were 
purchased for bouquets, and a harp and two violins were 
bespoke from town, in addition to the grand piano already on 



SBNTIMBNT. 811 

the pTemises. The young ladies who were selected to show 
off on the occasion, and do credit to the establishment, prac- 
tised incessantly, much to their own satisfaction, aud greatly 
to the annoyance of the lame old gentleman over the way ; 
and a constant correspondence was kept up, between tiie 
Misses Crumpton and the Hammersmith pastrycook. 

The evening came ; and then there was such a lacing of 
stays, and tying of sandals, and dressing of hair, as never can 
take place with a proper degree of bustle out of a boarding- 
school. The smaller girls managed to be in everybody's way, 
and were pushed about accordingly; and the elder ones 
dressed, and tied, and flattered, and envied, one another, as 
earnestly and sincerely as if they had actually come out, 

** How do I look, dear ? " inquired Miss Emily Smithers, 
the belle of the house, of Miss Caroline Wilson, who was her 
bosom friend, because she was the ugliest girl in Hammer- 
smith, or out of it. 

" Oh ! charming, dear. How do I ? " 

" Delightful ! you never looked so handsome," returned the 
belle, adjusting her own dress, and not bestowing a glance on 
her poor companion. 

" I hope young Hilton will come early," said another young 
lady to Miss somebody else, in a fever of expectation. 

*'I'm sure he'd be highly flattered if he knew it," re- 
turned the other, who was practising Veto, 

" Oh ! he 's so handsome," said ^e first. 

^' Such a charming person ! " added a second. 

** Such a distingue air ; " said a third. 

*' Oh, what do you think ? " said another girl, running into 
the room ; " Miss Crumpton says her cousin 's coming." 

" What ! Theodosius Butler ? " said everybody in raptures. 

" Is hs handsome ? " inquired a novice. 

" No, not particularly handsome," was the general reply ; 
*' but, oh, so clever ! " 

Mr. Theodosius Butler was one of those immortal geniuses 
who are to be met with, in almost every circle. They have, 
usually, very deep monotonous voices. They always persuade 
themselves that they are wonderM. persons, and that they 
ought to be very miserable, though they don't precisely know 
why. They are very conceited, and usually possess half an 
idea; but, with en^usiastio young ladies, and silly young 
^^tlemen, they are very wonderful persons. The individual 



812 SEBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

in question, Mr. Theodosius, liad written a pamphlet oon- 
taining some very weighty considerations on the expediency of 
doing something or other ; and as every sentence contained a 
good many words of four syllables, his admirers took it for 
granted that he meant a good deal. 

'' Perhaps that 's he/' exclaimed several young ladies, as 
the first pull of the evening threatened destruction to the bell 
of the gate. 

An Awfal pause ensued. Some boxes arrived and a young 
lady — Miss Brook Dingwall, in full baU costume, with an 
immense gold chain round her neck, and her dress looped up 
with a single rose; an ivory fan in her hand, and a most 
interesting expression of despair in her face. 

The Miss Crumptons inquired after the family, with the 
most excruciating anxiety, and Miss Brook Dingwall was 
formally introduced to her future companions. The Miss 
Crumptons conversed with the young ladies in the most 
mellifluous tones, in order that Miss Brook Dingwall might 
be properly impressed with their amiable treatment. 

Another pull at the bell. Mr. Dadson the writing-master, 
and his wife, llie wife in green silk, with shoes and cap- 
trimmings to correspond; the writing-master in a white 
waistcoat, black knee-ahorts, and ditto silk stockings, displaying 
a leg large enough for two writing-masters. The young ladies 
whirred one another, and the writing-master and his wife 
flattered the Miss Crumptons, who were dressed in amber, 
with long sashes, like doHs. 

Repeated pulls at the bell, and arrivals too numerous to 
particularise : papas and mammas, and aunts and uncles, 
the owners and guardians of the different pupils ; the singing- 
master. Signer Lobskini, in a black wig; the piano-forte 
player and the violins ; the harp, in a state of intoxication ; 
and some twenty young men, who stood near the door, and 
talked to one another, occasionally bursting into a giggle. A 
general hum of conversation. Coffee handed round, and 
plentiAilly partaken of by fat mammas, who lookedvlike the 
stout people who come on in pantomimes for the sole purpose 
of being knocked down. 

The popular Mr. Hilton was the next arrival; and he 
having, at the request of the Miss Crumptons, undertaken the 
office of Master of the Ceremonies, the quadriUes commenced 
with considerable spirit. The young men by the door gradual)^ 



SBNTIMBNT. 81S 

advanced into the middle of the room, and in time became 
sufficiently at ease to consent to be introduced to partners. 
The writing-master danced every set, springing about with 
the most fearful agility, and his wife played a rubber in the 
back-parlour — ^a little room with five book-shelves, dignified 
by the name of the study. Setting her down to wlust was a 
haLf-yearly piece of generalship on the part of the Miss 
Crumptons; it was neoessaiy to hide her somewhere, on 
account of her beiag a fright. 

The interesting Lavinia Brook Dingwall was the only girl 
present, who appeared to take no interest in the proceedings 
of the evening. In vain was she solicited to dance ; in vain 
was the universal homage paid to her as the daughter of a 
member of parliament. She was equally immoved by the 
splendid tenor of the inimitable Lobskini, and the brilliant 
execution of Miss Lsetitia Parsons, whose performance of 
''The Recollections of Ireland'' was universally declared to 
be almost equal to that of Moscheles himself. Not even the 
announcement of the airival of Mr. Theodosius Butler could 
induce her to leave the comer of the back drawing-room in 
which she was seated. 

" Now, Theodosius,'' said Miss Maria Crumpton, after that 
enlightened pamphleteer had nearly run the gauntlet of the 
whole company, " I must introduce you to our new pupil." 

Theodosius looked as if he cared for nothing earthly. 

''She's the daughter of a member of parliament," said 
Maria. — Theodosius started. 

" And her name is ? " he inquired 

" Miss Brook Dingwall." 

"Great Heaven!" poetically exclaimed Theodosius, in a 
low tone. 

Miss Crumpton commenced the introduction in due form. 
Miss Brook Dingwall languidly raised her head. 

" Edward ! " she exclaimed, with a half-shriek, on seeing 
the well-known nankeen legs. 

Fortunately, as Miss Maria Crumpton possessed no remark- 
able share of penetration, and as it was one of the diplomatic 
arrangements that no attention was to be paid to Miss Lavinia's 
incoherent exclamations, she was perfectly unconscious of the 
mutual agitation of the parties ; and therefore, seeing that the 
offer of his hand for the next quadrille, was accepted, she left 
him by the side of Miss Brook Dingwall. 



SU 8KBTCHBS BY BOZ. 

*' Oh, Edward ! '* exclaimed that most romantic of all 
romantic young ladies, as the light of science seated himself 
beside her, " Oh, Edward, is it you?" 

Mr. Theodosius assured the dear creature, in the most 
impassioned manner, that he was not conscious of being 
anybody but himself. 

"Then why — ^why — ^this disguise ? Oh! Edward M^eTille 
Walter, what have I not suffered on your account ? " 

" Layinia, hear me," replied the hero, in his most poetic 
strain. *'Do not condemn me, unheard. If anything that 
emanates firom the soul of such a wretch as I, can occupy a 
place in your recollection — ^if any being, so vile, deserve your 
notice — you may remember that I once published a pamphlet 
(and paid for its publication) entitled ' Considerations on the 
Policy of Removing the Duty on Bees'-wax.* " 

" I do — I do ! " sobbed Lavinia. 

'* That," continued the lover, " was a subject to which your 
father was devoted heart and soul." 

" He was — ^he was ! " reiterated the sentimentalist. 

" I knew it," continued Theodosius, tragically ; " I knew it 
— I forwarded him a copy. He wished to know me. Covld 
I disclose my real name ? Never ! No, I assumed that name 
which you have so often pronounced in tones of endearment. 
As M'Neville Walter, I devoted myself to the stirring cause ; 
as M'NeviUe Walter, I gained your heart; in the same 
character I was ejected firom your house by your father's 
domestics; and in no character at all have I since been 
enabled to see you. We now meet again, and I proudly own 
that I am — Theodosius Butler." 

The young lady appeared perfectly satisfied with this arga- 
mentative address, and bestowed a look of the most ardent 
affection on the immortal advocate of beee'-wax. 

" May I hope," said he, " that the promise your father's 
violent behaviour interrupted, may be renewed ? " 

" Let us join this set," replied Lavinia, coquettishly — ^for 
girls of nineteen can coquette. 

''No," ejaculated he of the nankeens; ''I stir not from 
this spot, writhing under this torture of suspense. May I — 
may I — ^hope ? " 

"You may." 

" The promise is renewed ? " 

" It is." 



SSNTIMBNT. 815 

*' I have yoxur permisBion ? " 

" You have." 

" To the ftdlest extent ? " 

"You know it," returned the blushing Lavinia. The 
contortions of the interesting Butler's visage expressed his 
raptures. 

We could dilate upon the occurrences that ensued. How 
Mr. Theodosius and Miss Lavinia danced, and talked, and 
sighed for the remainder of the evening — how the Miss 
Crumptons were delighted thereat. How the writing-master 
continued to jfrisk about with one-horse power, and how his 
wife, from some unaccountable freak, le^ the whist-table in 
the little back parlour, and persisted in displaying her green 
head-dress in the most conspicuous part of the drawing-room. 
How the supper consisted of small triangular sandwiches in 
trays, and a tart here and there by way of variety ; and how 
the visitors consumed warm water disg^ed with lemon, and 
dotted with nutmeg, under the denomination of negus. These, 
and other matters of as much interest, however, we pass over, 
for the purpose of describing a scene of even more importance. 

A fortnight after the date of the ball, Cornelius Brook 
Dingwall, Esq., M.P., was seated at the same library table, 
and in the same room, as we have before described. He was 
alone, and his face bore an expression of deep thought and 
solemn gravity — ^he was drawing up " A Bill for the better 
observance of Easter Monday." 

The footman tapped at the door — ^the legislator started from 
his reverie, and " Miss Crumpton " was announced. Permis- 
sion was given for Miss Crumpton to enter the sanctum; 
Maria came sHding in, and having taken her seat with a due 
portion of affectation, the footman retired, and the governess 
was left alone with the M.P. Oh ; how she longed for the 
presence of a third party ! Even the facetious young gentle- 
man would have been a relief. 

Miss Crumpton began the duet. She hoped Mrs. Brook 
Dingwall and the handsome little boy were in good health. 

They were. Mrs. Brook Dingwall and little Frederick were 
at Brighton. 

'* Much obliged to you. Miss Crumpton," said Cornelius, in 
his most digni£ed manner, '* for your attention in calling this 
morning. I should have driven down to Hammersmith, to 
see Lavinia, but your account was so very satisfactory, and my 



816 SEBTCHBS BY BOZ. 

duties in tlie House occupy me so much, that I determined to 
postpone it for a week. How lias she gone on ? " 

" Very well indeed, sir," returned Maria, dreading to inform 
the father that she had gone off. 

" Ah, I thought the plan on which I proceeded would be a 
match for her." 

Here was a fekvourable opportunity to say that somebody 
else had been a match for her. But the unfbrtunate governess 
was tmequal to the task. 

"You have persevered strictly in the line of conduct I 
prescribed, Miss Crumpton ? " 

" Strictly, sir." 

" You tell me in your note that her spirits gradually im- 
proved." 

** Very much indeed, sir." 

" To be sure. I was convinced they would." - 

'* But I fear, sir," said Miss Crumpton, with visible emotion, 
" I fear the plan has not succeeded, quite so well as we could 
have wished." 

"No!" exclaimed the prophet. "Bless me! Miss Crumpton, 
you look alarmed. What has happened ? " 

" Miss Brook Dingwall, sir — " 

" Yes, ma'am ? " :" ' u ^ 

" Has gone, sir " — said Maria, exhibiting a six)Qi»g''!£dina- 
tion to faint. , ^ '- 

"Gone!" 

"Eloped, sir." 

"Eloped! — ^Who with — when — where — how?" almost 
shrieked the agitated diplomatist. * 

The natural yellow of the unfortunate Maria's face changed 
to all the hues of the rainbow, as she laid a small packet on 
the member's table. 

He hurriedly opened it. A letter from his daughter, and 
another from Theodosius. He glanced over their contents — 
" Ere this reaches you, far distant — appeal to feelings — ^love 
to distraction — bees' -wax — ^slavery," &c., &c. He dashed his 
hand to his forehead, and paced tilie room with fearfolly long 
strides, to the great alarm of the precise Maria. 

"Now mind; from this time forward," said Mr. Brook 
Dingwall, suddenly stopping at the table, and beating time 
upon it with his hand; "from this time forward, I never 
will, under any circumstances whatever, permit a man who 




Wrt;.lrtJci*irt*_ 



y/^ '. y////y.^ r// ' /l f/ ///.»///r/r . 



THB TUGGS*S AT RAMSGATB. 817 

writes pampblets to enter any other room of this House but 
the kitchen. — I '11 allow my daughter and her husband one 
hundred and fifty pounds aryear, and never see their faces 
again ; and, damme ! ma'am, I '11 bring in a bill for the 
abolition of finishing-schools ! " 

Some time has elapsed sinoe this passionate declaration. 
Mr. and Mrs. Butler are at present rusticating in a small 
cottage at Ball's-pond, pleasantly situated in the immediate 
▼idnity of a brick-field. They have no feimily. Mr. Theodosius 
looks yery important, and writes incessandy; but, in conse- 
quence of a gross combination on the part of publishers, none 
of his productions apx>ear in print. His young wife begins to 
think that ideal miseiy is preferable to real unhappiness ; and 
that a marriage, contracted in haste, and repented at leisure, 
is the cause of more substantial wretchedness than she ever 
anticipated. 

On cool reflexion, Cornelius Brook Dingwall, Esq., M.P., 
was reluctantly compelled to admit that the untoward result 
of his admirable arrangements was attributable, not to the 
Miss Cmmptons, but his own diplomacy. He however con- 
soles himself, like some other small diplomatists, by satisfactorily 
proving that if his plans did not succeed, they ought to have 
done so. Minerva House is in statu quo, and ** The Misses 
Crumpton " remain in the peaceable and undisturbed enjoy- 
ment of all the advantages resulting £x)m their Finishing- 
ScbooL 



CHAPTER IV- 

THE TUGOS'S AT BAMSGATE. 



OwcE upon a time, there dwelt, in a narrow street on the 
Surrey side of the water, within three minutes' walk of old 
London Bridge, Mr. Joseph Tuggs — a little dark-faced man, 
with shiny hair, twinkling eyes, short legs, and a body of 
very considerable thickness, measuring firom the centre button 
of his waistcoat in firont, to the ornamental buttons of his coat 
behind. The figure of the amiable Mrs. Tuggs, if not per- 
fectly symmetrical, was decidedly comfortable ; and the form 
of her only daughter, the accomplished Miss Charlotte Tuggs, 



818 SEBTOHBS BT BOZ. 

was fast ripening into that state of luxuriant plumpness 
Trhicli had enchanted the eyes, and captivated the heart, of Mr. 
Joseph Tuggs in his earlier days. Mr. Simon Tuggs, his only 
son, and Miss Charlotte Tuggs's only brother, was as differently 
formed in body, as he was differently constituted in mind, 
from the remainder of his family. There was that elongation 
in his thoughtM face, and that tendency to weakness in his 
interesting legs, which tell so forcibly of a great mind and 
romantic disposition. The slightest traits of character in such 
a being, possess no mean interest to speculative minds. He 
usually appeared in public, in capacious shoes with black cotton 
stockings ; and was observed to be particularly attached to a 
black glazed stock, without tie or ornament of any description. 

There is perhaps, no profession, however useful ; no pursuit, 
however meritorious ; which can escape the petty attacks of 
vulgar minds. Mr. Joseph Tuggs was a grocer. It might 
be supposed that a grocer was beyond the breath of calumny ; 
but no — ^the neighbours stigmatLsed him as a chandler ; and 
the poisonous voice of envy distinctly asserted that he dis- 
pensed tea and coffee by the quartern, retailed sugar by the 
ounce, cheese by the slice, tobacco by the screw, and butter 
by the pat. These taunts, however, were lost upon the 
Tuggs's. Mr. Tuggs attended to the groceiy department; 
Mrs. Tuggs to the cheesemongery ; and Miss Tuggs to her 
education. Mr. Simon Tug^ kept his father's books, and his 
own counsel. 

One fine spring afternoon, the latter gentleman was seated 
on a tub of weekly Dorset, behind the little red desk with a 
wooden rail, whidi ornamented a comer of the counter ; when 
a stranger dismounted from a cab, and hastily entered the 
shop. He was habited in black doth, and bore with him, a 
green umbrella, and a blue bag. 

" Mr. Tuggs ? " said the stranger, inquiringly. 

'* My name is Tuggs," replied Mr. Simon. 

" It 's the other Mr. Tuggs," said the stranger, looking 
towards the glass door which led into the parlour behind the 
shop, and on the inside of which, the round faoe of Mr. Tu^s, 
senior, was distinctly visible, peeping over the curtain. 

Mr. Simon gracefully waved his pen, as if in intimation of 
his wish that his father would advance. Mr. Joseph Tuggs, 
with considerable celerity, removed his face from the curtain, 
and placed it before the sitranger. 



THB TUaOffS AT RAMSGATB. 819 

" I come from tlie Temple," said the man with the bag. 

" From the Temple ! " said Mrs. Tuggs, flinging open the 
door of the little parlour and disclosing Miss Tuggs in 
perspective. 

'' From the Temple ! '' said Miss Tuggs and Mr. Simou 
Tuggs at the same moment, 

** From the Temple ! " said Mr. Joseph Tuggs, turning as 
pale as a Dutch cheese. 

"From the Temple," repeated the man with the bag; 
"from Mr. Cower's, the solicitor's. Mr. Tuggs, I congratu- 
late you, sir. Ladies, I wish you joy of your prosperity! 
We have been succesaM." And tiie man with the bag 
leisurely divested himself of his umbrella and glove, as a 
preliminary to shaking hands with Mr. Joseph Tuggs. 

Now the words "we have been successM," had no sooner 
issued from the mouth of the man with the bag, than Mr. 
Simon Tuggs rose from the tub of weekly Dorset, opened his 
eyes very wide, gasped for breath, made figures of eight in 
the air with his pen, and finally fell into the arms of his 
anxious mother, and fainted away, without the slightest 
ostensible cause or pretence. 

" Water ! " screamed Mrs. Tuggs. 

" Look up, my son," exclaimed Mr. Tuggs. 

" Simon ! dear Simon ! " shrieked Miss Tuggs. 

"I'm better now," said Mr. Simon Tuggs. "What! 
Buccessfrd ! " And then, as corroborative evidence of his 
being better, he fainted away again, and was borne into the 
little parlour by the united efforts of the remainder of the 
fEumly, and the man with the bag. 

To a casual spectator, or to any one unacquainted with the- 
position of the family, this fainting would have been imac- 
countable. To those who understood the mission of the man 
with the bag, and were moreover acquainted with the 
excitability of the nerves of Mr. Simon Tuggs, it was quite 
comprehensible. A long pending law-suit respecting the 
validity of a will, had been unexpectedly decided ; and Mr. 
Joseph Tuggs was the possessor of twenty thousand pounds. 

A prolonged consultation took place that night, in the 
little parlour — ^a consultation that was to settle the future 
destinies of the Tuggs's. The shop was shut up at an unusually 
early hour; and many were the unavailing kicks bestowed 
upon the closed door by applicants for quarterns of sugar, or 



Z2Q SKSrCHES BT BOZ. 

half-quarterns of bread, or penn'orths of p^per, which were 
to have heen "left till Saturday/' but which fortune had 
decreed were to be left alone altogether. 

'' We must certainly give up business," said Miss TuggB. 

''Oh, decidedly/' said Mrs, Tuggs. 

'' Simon shall go to the bar/' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs. 

'' And I shall edways sign myself ' Qymon ' in future^" said 
his son. 

** And I shall call myself Charlotta," said Miss Tugga. 

" And you must always call ms * Ha,' and father ' Fa,' " 
said Mrs. Tuggs. 

'' Tes, and Pa must leave off all his vulgar habitS}" inter- 
posed Miss Tuggs. 

'' I '11 take care of all that/' responded Mr. Joseph Tuggs, 
complacently. He was, at that very moment, eating pickled 
salmon with a pocket-knife. 

"We must leave town immediately," said Mr. Qymon 
Tuggs. 

Everybody concurred that this was an indispensable pre- 
liminary to being genteel. The question then arose. Where 
should they go ? 

" Gravesend ? " mildly suggested Mr. Joseph Tuggs. The 
idea was unanimously scouted. Gravesend was low. 

" Margate ? " insuiuated Mrs. Tuggs. Worse and worse — 
nobody there, but tradespeople. 

" Brighton ? " Mr. Cymon Tuggs opposed an insurmount- 
able objection. All the coaches had been upset, in turn, 
within the last three weeks; each coach had averaged two 
passengers killed, and six wounded ; and, in every case, the 
newspapers had distinctly understood that " no blame what- 
ever was attributable to ^e coachman." 

"Ramsgate?" ejaculated Mr. Qymon, thoughtfully. To 
be sure : how stupid they must have been, not to have thought 
of that before ! Ramsgate was just the place of all others. 

Two months after this conversation, the City of London 
Ramsgate steamer was running gaily down flie river. Her 
flag was flying, her band was playing, her passengers were 
conversing ; everything about her seemed gay and lively. — 
No wonder — ^the Tuggs's were on board. 

'* Charming, ain't it ? " said Mr. Joseph Tuggs, in a bottle- 
green great-coat, with a velvet collar of the same, and a Uue 
travelling-cap with a gold band. 



THE TUaOS*S AT BAMSOATB 821 

"Soul-inspiring," replied Mr. Cymon Tuggs — he was 
entered at the bar. " Sonl-inspiring ! " 

" Delightftd morning, sir ! " said a stoutish, military-looking 
gentleman in a blue surtout buttoned up to his chin, and white 
trousers chained down to the soles of his boots. 

Mr. Cymon Tuggs took upon himself the responsibility of 
answering the observation. " Heavenly ! " he repHed. 

" You axe an enthusiastic admirer of the beauties of Nature, 
sir ? " said the military gentleman. 

" I am, sir," replied Mr. Cymon Tuggs. 

" Travelled much, sir ? " inquired the military gentleman. 

" Not much," repUed Mr. Cymon Tuggs. 

" You We been on the continent, of course ? " inquired the 
military gentleman. 

*' Not exactly," replied Mr. Cymon Tuggs — ^in a qualified 
tone, as if he wished it to be implied that he had gone half- 
way and come back again. 

*' You of course intend your son to make the grand tour, 
sir?" said the military gentleman, addressing Mr. Joseph 
Tuggs. 

As Mr. Joseph Tuggs did not precisely tmderstand what the 
grand tour was, or how such an article was manufactured, he 
repHed, " Of course." Just as he said the word, there came 
tripping up, from her seat at the stem of the vessel, a young 
lady in a puce-coloured silk doak, and boots of the same; 
witii long black ringlets, large black eyes, brief petticoats, and 
unexceptionable ankles. 

" Walter, my dear," said the young lady to the military 
gentleman. 

" Yes, Belinda, my love," responded the military gentleman 
to the black-eyed young lady. 

"What have you left me alone so long for?" said the 
young lady. *' I have been stared out of countenance by those 
rude young men." 

"What! stared at?" exclaimed the military gentleman, 
with an emphasis which made Mr. Cymon Tuggs withdraw 
Ids eyes from the young lady's face with inconceivable rapidity. 
"Which young men — ^where?" and the military gentleman 
clenched his fist, and glared fearfully on the cigar-smokers 
around. 

" Be calm, Walter, I entreat," said the young lady. 

'* I won't," said the military gentleman. 

Y 



82S SKETCHBS BT BOZ. 

*'Do, sir," interposed Mr. Cymon Tug^s, "They ain't 
worth your notice." 

" No — no — ^they are not, indeed," urged the young lady. 

''I wiU be cahn," said the military gentleman. "You 
speak truly, sir. I thank you for a timely remonstrance, 
which may have spared me the guilt of manslang'hter.*' 
Calming his wrath, tiie military gentleman wrung Mr. Oymon 
Tuggs by the hand. 

" My sister, sir ! " said Mr. Cytnon Tuggs ; seeing that the 
military gentleman was casting an admiring look towards 
Miss Charlotta. 

" My wife, ma'am — ^Mrs. Captain Waters," said the militaiy 
gentleman, presenting the black-eyed young lady. 

"My mother, ma'am — Mrs. Tuggs," said Mr. Oymon. 
The military gentleman and hia wife murmured enchanting 
courtesies^ and the Tuggs's looked as imembarrassed as they 
could. 

" Walter, my dear," said the blaok-eyed young lady, after 
they had sat chatting with the Tuggs's some half hour. 

" Yes, my love," said the military gentleman. 

" Don't you thiok this gentleman (with an indination of 
the head towards Mr. Cymon Tuggs) is very much like the 
Marquis Carriwini ? " 

" Lord bless me, very ! " said the military gentleman. 

" It struck me, the moment I saw him," said the young 
lady, gazing inten^tly, and with a melancholy air, on the 
scarlet countenance of Mr. Cymon Tuggs. Mr. Cymon Tuggs 
looked at everybody ; and finding that everybody was looking 
at him, appeared to feel some temporary difficulty in diqposixtg 
of his eyesight. 

"So exactly the air of the marquis," said the military 
gentleman. 

" Quite extraordinary ! " sighed the military gendeman's 
lady. 

" You don't know the marquis, sir ? " inquired the military 
gentleman. 

Mr. Cymon Tuggs stammeEed a negative. 

"If you did," continued Captain Walter Waters, "you 
would feel how much reason you have to be proud of the 
resemblance — a most elegant man, with a most prepoSBSno^ 
appearance." 

" He is — ^he is indeed ! " exclaimed Belinda Waters ener- 



THE Tnaasrs at BiJisaATs. sas 

getically. As her eye caught that of Mr. Cymon Toggs, ahe 
withdrew it from his features in bashful coiil^ision. 

All this, was highly gratifying to the feelings of the Toggs^s ; 
and when, in the course of farther conversation, it was dis- 
covered that Miss Chadotta Tu^^ was the/oc simile of a titled 
relative of Mrs. Belinda Waters, and that Mrs. Tuggs herself 
was the veiy picture of the Dowager Duchess of Dobbleton, 
their delight in the acquisition of so genteel and Mendly on 
acquaintance, knew no bounds. Even the dignity of Captain 
Walter Waters relaxed, to that degree, that he suffered himself 
to be prevailed upon by Mr. Joseph Tuggs, to partake of cold 
pigeon-pie and sheny, on deck; and a most delighful con- 
versation, aided by these agreeable stimulants, was prolonged, 
until they ran alongside Ramsgate Pier. 

''Good by'e, dear!" said Mrs. Captain Waters to Miss 
Charlotta Tuggs, just before the bustle of landing commenced; 
" we shall see you on the sands in the momiog ; and, as we 
are sure to have found lodgings before then, I hope we shall 
be inseparables for many weeks to come." 

'' Oh ! I hope so," said Miss Charlotta Tuggs, emphatically. 

''Tickets, ladies and gen'lm'n," said tiie man on the 
paddle-box. 

"Want a porter, sir?" inquired a doxea men in smock- 
frocks. 

'^ Now, my dear ! " said Captain Waters. 

"Good by'e!" said Mrs. Captain Waters— "good by'e, 
Mr. Qymon ! " and with a pressure of the hand which threw 
the amiable young man's nerves into a state of considerable 
derangement, Mrs. Captain Waters disappeared among the 
crowd. A pair of puoe-coloured boots were seen ascending 
the steps, a white handkerchief fluttered, a black eye gleamed. 
The Waters's were gone, and Mr. Cymon Tuggs was alone in 
a heartless world. 

Silently and abstractedly did that too sensitive youth foUow 
his revered parents, and a train of smock-frocks and wheel- 
barrows, along the pier, until the bustle of the scene around, 
recalled him to himself. The sun was shining brightly ; the 
sea, dancing to its own music, roUed merrily in ; crowds of 
people promenaded to end fro; young ladies tittered; old 
ladies talked; nurse-maids diiE^layed their ohaims to the 
greatest possible advantage; and their HttLe charges ram up 
and down, and to and fro, and in and out, under the ftei, and 

t2 



824 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

between the legs, of the assembled concourse, in the most 
playful and exhilarating manner. There were old gentlemen, 
trying to make out objects through long telescopes ; and young 
ones, maiking objects of themselves in open shirt-collars ; 
ladies, canying about portable chairs, and portable chairs 
carrying about invalids ; parties, waiting on the pier for 
parties who had come by the steamboat ; and nothing was to 
be heard but talking, laughing, welcoming, and merriment. 

" Fly, sir ? " exclaimed a chorus of fourteen men and six 
boys, the moment Mr. Joseph Tuggs, at the head of his little 
party, set foot in the street. 

'^ Here 's the gen'lm'n at last ! " said one, touching hiis hat 
with mock politeness. " Weny glad to see you, sir, — ^been 
a-waitin' for you these six weeks. Jump in, if you please, 
sir!" 

"Nice light fly and a fast trotter, sir," said anotlier: 
'^ fourteen mile a hour, and suiroundin' objects rendered 
inwisible by ex-treme welocity ! " 

** Large fly for your luggage, sir," cried a third, " Werry 
large fly here, sir — ^reg*lar bluebottle ! " 

" Here 's your fly, sir ! " shouted another aspiring charioteer, 
mounting the box, and inducing an old gray horse to indulge 
in some imperfect reminiscences of a canter. " Look at him, 
sir ! — ^temper of a lamb and haction of a steam-ingein ! " 

Resisting even the temptation of securing the services of so 
valuable a quadruped as the last-named, Mr. Joseph Tuggs 
beckoned to the proprietor of a dingy conveyance of a greenish 
hue, lined with faded striped calico ; and, the luggage and 
the family having been deposited therein, the animal in the 
shafts, after describing circles in the road for a quarter of an 
hour^ at last consented to depart in quest of lodgings. 

"How many beds have you got?" screamed Mrs. Tuggs 
out of the fly, to the woman who opened the door of the first 
house which displayed a bill intimating that apartments were 
to be let within. 

" How many did you want, ma'am ? " was, of course, the 
reply. 

"Three." 

"WiU you step in, ma'am?" Down got Mrs. Tuggs. 
The family were delighted. Splendid view of the sea from 
the front windows— charming ! A short pause. Back came 
Mrs. Tuggs again. — One parlour and a mattress. 



THB TUGGS^S AT RAMSGATB. 825 

'* Why flie devil didn't they say so at first ? " inquired Mr. 
Joseph Tu^s, rather pettishly. 

" Don't know/' said Mrs. Tuggs. 

" Wretches ! " exclaimed the nervous Cymon. Another bill 
— another stoppage. Same question — same answer — similar 
result. 

"What do they mean by this?" inquired Mr. Joseph 
Tuggs, thoroughly out of temper. 

" Don't know," said the placid Mrs. Tuggs. 

"Orvis the vay here, sir," said the driver, by way of 
accounting for th& circumstance in a satisfactory manner ; and 
off iiiey went again, to make fresh inquiries, and encoimter 
fresh disappointments. 

It had grown dusk when the "fly" — ^the rate of whose 
progress greatly belied its name — ^after climbing up four or 
five perpendicular hiUs, stopped before the do<w of a dusty 
houfle, with a bay window, from which you could obtain a 
beautiful glimpse of the sea — ^if you thrust half your body 
out of it, at the imminent penl of falling into the area. Mrs. 
Tuggs alighted. One ground-floor sitting-room, and three 
cells with beds in them up stairs. A double house. Family 
on the opposite side. Five children milk-and-watering in the 
parlour, and one little boy, expelled for bad behaviour, 
screaming on his back in the passage. 

" What 's the terms ? " said Mrs. Tuggs. The mistress of 
the house was considering the expediency of putting on an 
extra guinea; so, she coughed slightly, and affected not to 
hear the question. 

" What 's the terms ? " said Mrs. Tuggs, in a louder key. 

" Five guineas a week, ma'am, with attendance," replied 
the lodging-house keeper. (Attendance means the privilege 
of ringing the bell as often as you like, for your own 
amusement.) 

" Rather dear," said Mrs. Tuggs. 

'* Oh dear, no, ma'am ! " replied the mistress of the house, 
with a benign smile of pify at the ignorance of manners and 
customs, which the observation betrayed. " Very cheap ! " 

Such an authority was indisputable. Mrs. Tuggs paid a 
week's rent in advance, and took the lodgings for a month. 
In an hour's time, the family were seated at tea in their new 
abode. 

" Capital srimps ! " said Mr. Joseph Tuggs. 



826 SKBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

Mr. Cymon eyed his father with a rebeUiooB soowl, ag he 
emphatically said *' Shrimps,** 

"" Well then, ahrimps," Baid Mr. Joseph Tuggs. " Siimps 
or shrimps, don't much matter." 

There was pity, blended with malignity, in Mr. Qymon's 
eye, as he replied, " Don't matter, &ther ! What ironld 
Captain Waters say, if he heard such vulgarify ? " 

" Or what would dear Mrs. Captain Waters say," added 
Charlotta, ''if she saw mother — ^ma, I mean — eating them 
whole, heads and all ! " 

" It won't bear thinking of ! " ejaculated Mr. Cymoii, with 
a shudder. '* How different," he thought, '^ from the Dowager 
Duchess of Dobbleton ! " 

"Very pretty woman, Mrs. Captain Waters, is ahe not, 
Cymon ? " inquired Miss Charlotta. 

A glow of nervous excitement passed over the countenance 
of Mr. Cymon Tuggs, as he replied, " An angel of beauty ! " 

" Hallo ! " said Mr. Joseph Tuggs, " Hallo, Cymon, my 
boy, take care. Married lady you know ; " and he winked 
one of his twinkling eyes knowingly. 

" Why," exclaimed Cymon, starting up with an ebullitioiL 
of taij, as unexpected as alarming, ''Why am. I to be 
reminded of that blight of my happiness, and ruin of my 
hopes ? Why am I to be taunted with the miseries whidi 
are heaped upon my head ? Is it not enough to — ^to — ^to," 
and the orator paused ; but whether for want of words, or 
lack of breath, was uever distinctly ascertained. 

There was an impressive solemnity in the tone of this 
address, and in tiie air with which tiie romantic Cymon, at 
its conclusion, rang the bell, and demanded a flat candlestick, 
which effectually forbade a reply. He stalked dramatically to 
bed, and the Tuggs' s went to bed too, half an hour afterwards, 
in a state of considerable mystification and perplexity. 

If the pier had presented a scene of life and bustle to the 
Tu^s's on their first landing at Ramsgate, it was jfkr sur- 
passed by the appearance of the sands on <he morning after 
their arrival. It was a fine, bright, clear day, with a light 
breeze from the sea. There were the same ladies and gentle- 
men, the same children, the same nursemaids, the same 
telescopes, the same portable chairs. The ladies were employed 
in needlework, or watchguard making, or knitting, or reading 
novels; the gentlemen were reading newspapers and maga- 



THB TUGOS'S AT KAlfSGATB. 927 

adnes; the children were diggmg holes in the sand with 
wooden spades, and collecting watar therein ; the nursemaids, 
with their youngest charges in their arms, were running in 
after the waves, and then running back with the waves after 
them ; and, now and then, a little sailing-boat either departed 
with a gay and talkative cargo of passengers, or returned with 
a veiy silent, and particularly uncomfortable-looking one. 

'^ Well, I never ! '' exclaimed Mrs. Tuggs, as she and Mr. 
Joseph Tuggs, and Miss Charlotta Tuggs, and Mr. Cymon 
Tuggs, with their eight feet in a corresponding number of 
yellow shoes, seated themselves on four rush-bottomed chairs, 
which, being placed in a soft part of the sand, forthwith 
sunk down some two feet and a half. — *' Well, I never ! " 

Mr. Cymon, by an exertion of great personal strength, 
uprooted the chairs, and removed them further back. 

*' Why, I 'm bless'd if there ain't some ladies a-going in ! " 
cfsclaimed Mr. Joseph Tuggs, with intense astonishment. 

" Lor, pa ! " exclaimed Miss Charlotta. 

" There is, my dear,'* said Mr. Joseph Tuggs. And, sure 
enough, four yoimg ladies, each furnished with a towel, 
tripped up the steps of a bathing-machine. In went the horse, 
floundering about in the water ; round turned the machine ; 
down sat the driver ; and presently out burst the young ladies 
aforesaid, with four distinct splashes. 

" WeU, that 's sing'ler, too ! " ejaculated Mr. Joseph Tuggs, 
after an awkward pause. Mr. Cymon coughed slightly. 

''Why, here's some gentlmnen a-going in on this side,*' 
exclaimed Mrs. Tuggs, in a tone of horror. 

Three machines — ^three horses — three flounderings — three 
turnings round — ^three splashes — ^three gentlemen, disporting 
themselves in the water like so many dolphins. 

** Well, that '« sing'ler ! " said Mr. Joseph Tuggs again. 
Miss Charlotta coughed this time, and another pause ensued. 
It was agreeably broken. 

** How d' ye do, dear ? We have been looking for you, all 
the morning," said a voice to Miss Charlotta Tuggs. Mrs. 
Captain Waters was the owner of it. 

" How d' ye do ? " said Captain Walter Waters, all suavity; 
and a most cordial interchange of greetings ensued. 

" Belinda, my love," said Captain Walter Waters, applying 
his glass to his eye, and looking in the direction of the sea. 

" Yes, my dear," replied Mrs. Captain Waters. 



m SKSTCHBS BY BOZ. 

" There 'a Harrjr Thompson ! " 

" Where ? " said Belinda, applying her glass to her eye. 

<* Bathing." 

" Lor, 80 it is ! He don't see us, does he ? " 

" No, I don't think he does," replied the captain. *' Bless 
my soul, how very singular ! " 

'* What ? " inquired Belinda. 

" There 's Mary Golding, too." 

*' Lor ! — ^where ? " (Up went the glass again.) 

"There ! " said the captain, pointing to one of the young 
ladies before noticed, who, in her bathing costume, looked 
as if she was enveloped in a patent Mackintosh, of scanty 
dimensions. 

" So it is, I declare ! " exclaimed Mrs. Captain Waters. 
** How very curious we should see them both ! " 

" Very," said the captain, with perfect coolness. 

"It's the reg'lar thing here, you see," whispered Mr. 
Cymon Tuggs to his father* 

" I see it is," whispered Mr. Joseph Tug^ in reply. 
" Queer though — ain't it ? " Mr. Cymon Tu^^s nodded 
assent. 

"What do you think of doing with yourself this morn- 
ing ? " inquired the captain. " Shall we lunch at Pegwell ? " 

" I should like that very much indeed," interposed Mrs. 
Tuggs. She had never heard of PegweU; but the word 
"lunch" had reached her ears, and it sounded very agreeably. 

"How shall we go?" inquired the captain; "it's too 
warm to walk." 

" A shay ? " suggested Mr. Joseph Tuggs. 

" Chaise," whispered Mr. Cymon. 

" I should think one would be enough," said Mr. Joseph 
Tuggs aloud, quite unconscious of the meaning of the correc- 
tion. " However, two shays if you like." 

" I should like a donkey $o much," said Belinda. 

" Oh, so should I ! " echoed Charlotta Tuggs. 

"Well, we can have a fly," suggested the captain, "and 
you can have a couple of donkeys." 

A fresh difficulty arose. Mrs. Captain Waters declared it 
I70uld be decidedly improper for two ladies to ride alone. 
The remedy was obvious. Perhaps young Mr. Tuggs would 
be gallant enough to accompany them. 

Mr. Cymon Tuggs blui^ed, smiled, looked vacant, and 



THE 7UQa98 AT RAl^OATE. 3S9 

fainily protested that he waa no horseman. The objection 
was at once oyerruled. A fly was speedily found ; and three 
donkeys — which the proprietor declared on his solemn asseve- 
ration to be "three parts blood, and the other com" — ^were 
engaged in the service. 

" Kim up ! '* shouted one of the two bpys who followed 
behind, to propel the donkeys, when Belinda Watera and 
Charlotta Tuggs had been hoisted, and pushed, and pmlled, 
into their respective saddles. 

" Hi — ^hi — hi ! " groaned the other boy behind Mr, Qfmon 
Tuggs. Away went tho donkey, with the stirrups jingling 
against the h^ei^ of C^rmon's bootsj, and Cymon's boota nearly 
scraping the ground. 

" \\^ay— way • Wo— Ot-o-*-o — ! " cried Mr, Cymon Tuggs 
as well as he could, in the midst of the joltings 

" Don't make it gallop 1 " screamed MrSk Captain Waters, 
behind. 

'* My donkey tnll go into the public*housQ ! " shiiebed Miss 
Tuggs in the rear. 

" Hi — hi — Jii ! " groaned both the boys together ; and on 
went the donkeys as if nothing would ever stop them. 

Everything has an end, however; even the galloping of 
donkeys will.^as0 in time- The ai^mAl which Mr. Cymoft 
Tuggs bestrode, feeling sundry uncomfortable tugs at the bit, 
the intent of which he could by not means divine^, abruptly 
sidled against a biick wall, and expressed his uneasiness by 
grinding Mr. Qymon Ti^ggs's leg on the rough enirfiace. iMrs. 
Captain Waters*s donkey, apparently under the infiu^ce.of 
some play^ilness of spiriti rushed suddenly, head fi^t^ vato a 
hedge, and declined to come out ^gaiu,: emd the qu^^druped 
on which Miss Tuggs rwa^ mounted, eiq»?es6ed his delight at 
this humorous pgcoceeding by £xmly planting his fpre-feet 
against the ground, and kicking, up his hind-legfii in a vwy 
agile, but sosoewhfit alegining manner* ,. i 

This abrupt termination, to the rapidity of the ride, naturally 
occasioned |9ome confusion. Both the ladies indulged in vehe- 
ment screaming for several minutes; and Hr^ Cympi^ Tuggs, 
besides ^ustainin^, intense bodijiy pain, had the additacmal 
mental anguis}^ of -witnessing their distressing j^ituation, w^Hi^ 
out having, the power to rescue them^ by xeason of hi(» l^g 
being firmly screwed in hetweep. the animal and the walL, 
The effort^ pf ; tl^^, boys, howevefv fis$iated by the ingeidpua 



880 SEBTGHBS BT BOZ. 

expedient of twisting the tail of Hie most rebellious donkej, 
restored order in a much shorter troie than oould haye reason- 
ably been expected, and the little pariy jogged slowlj on 
together. 

*' Now let 'em walk," said Mr. Cymon Tug^. " It *b cniel 
to oyerdrive 'em." 

" Werry well, sir," replied the boy, with a grin at his com- 
paoion, as if he understood Mr. Cymon to mean that the 
cruelty applied less to the animals than to their riders. 

" What a lovely day, dear ! " said Charlotta. 

" Charming ; enchanting, dear ! " responded Mrs. Captain 
Waters. " What a beautiM prospect, Mr. Tuggs ! " 

Cymon looked full in Belinda's face, as he responded — 
** Beautiful, indeed ! " The lady cast down her eyes, and 
suffered the animal she was riding to fall a little back. 
Cymon Tug^s instinctively did the same. 

There was a brief silence, broken only by a sigh from Mr. 
Cymon Tuggs. 

"Mr. Cymon," said the lady suddenly, in a low tone, 
"Mr. Cymon — I am another's." 

Mr. Cymon expressed his perfect concurrence in a statement 
which it was impossible to controvert. 

" If I had not been — " resumed Belinda ; and there she 
stopped. 

"What — ^what?" said Mr. Cymon earnestly. "Do not 
torture me. What would you say ? " 

" If I had not been "-—continued Mrs. Captain Waters — 
"if, in earlier life, it had been my fate to have known, and 
been beloved by, a noble youth — a kindred sotil — a congenial 
spirit — one capable of feeling and appreciating the sentiments 
which—" 

" Heavens ! what do I hear ? " exclaimed Mr. Cymon 
Tuggs. "Is it possible ! can I believe my — Come up I " 
(Thia last unsentimental parenthesis was addressed to the 
donkey, who with his head between his fore-legs, appeared to 
be examining the state of his shoes with great anxiety.) 

" Hi — ^hi — hi," said the boys behind. " Come up," ex- 
postulated Cymon Tuggs again. " Hi — ^hi — ^hi ! " repeated 
the bays. And whether it was that the animal felt indignant 
at the tone of Mr. Tuggs's command, or felt alarmed by the 
noise of the deputy proprietor's boots running behind him ; 
or whether ha burned with a noble emulation to outstrip &e 



THE TUeaffS AT EAKSGATE. S81 

o&er dQnkejs; certain it is that he no sooner heard the 
second series of ''hi — hi's/' than he started away, -with a 
celerity of pace which jerked Mr. Cymon's hat oS, instanta- 
neously, and carried him to the Pegwell Bay hotel in no 
time, where he deposited his rider without giving him the 
trouble of dismounting, by sagaciously pitching him over 
his head, into the very doorway of the tavern. 

Great was the confusion of Mr. Cymon Tuggs, when he 
was put, right end uppermost, by two waiters ; considerable 
waB ^e alarm of Mrs. Tuggs in behalf of her son ; agonising 
were the apprehensions of Mrs. Captain Waters on his account. 
It was speedily discovered, however, that he had not sustained 
much more injury than the donkey — ^he was grazed, and the 
fmiTTiftl was grazing — and then it was a deHghtM party to be 
sure! Mr. and Mrs. Tuggs, and the captain, had ordered 
lunch in the little garden behind: — small saucers of large 
shrimps, dabs of butter, cmsiy loaves, and bottled ale. The 
sky was without a cLoud; there were flower-pots and turf 
before them; the sea, from the foot of the cliff, stretching 
away as far as the eye could discern anything at all ; vessels 
in the distance with sails as white, and as small, as nioely-got- 
up cambric handkerchief. The shrimps were delightful, the 
ale better, and the captain even more pleasant than either. 
Mrs. Captain Waters was in such spirits after lunch l^-chasiog, 
flrst the captain across the turf, and among the flower-pots ; 
and then Mr. Cymon Tuggs; and then Miss Tuggs; and 
laughing, too, qtdte boisterously. But as the captain said, 
it idn't matter ; -who knew what they were, there ? For all 
the people of the house knew, they might be common people. 
To which Mr. Joseph Tu^s responded, **To be sure." And 
then they went down the steep wooden steps a little further 
on, which led to the bottom of the diff ; and looked at the 
crabs, and the seaweed, and the eels, till it was more than 
fully time to go back to Eamsgate again. Finally, Mr. 
Cymon Tuggs ascended the steps last, and Mrs. Captain 
Waters last but one ; and Mr. Cymon Tuggs discovered that 
the foot and ancle of Mrs. Captain Waters, were even more 
unexceptionable than he had at first supposed. 

Taking a donkey towards his ordinary place of residence, 
IB a very different thing, and a feat much more easily to be 
accomplished, than taking him from it. It requires a great 
deal of foresight and presence of mind in the one case, to 



S32 SKETCHES BY fiOZ. 

anticipate the numerous flights of his discursive imaginatiozi ; 
whereas, in the other, all you have to do, is, to hold on, and 
place a blind confidence in the animal. Mr. Cymon Tuggs 
adopted the latter expedient on his return; and his nerves 
were so little discomposed by the journey, that he distinctly 
understood they were all to meet again at the library in the 
evening. 

The library was crowded. There were the same ladies, 
and the same gentlemen, who had been on the sands in the 
morning, and on the pier the day before. There were young 
ladies, in maroon-coloured gowns and black velvet bracelets, 
dispensing fancy articles in the shop, and presiding over 
games of chance in the concert-room. There were marriage- 
able daughters, and marriage-making mammas, gaming and 
promenading, and turning over music, and flirting. There 
were solne male beaux doing the sentimental in whispers, and 
others doing the ferocious in moustache. There were Mrs. 
Tuggs in amber. Miss Tuggs in sky-blue, Mrs. Captain Waters 
in pink. There was Captain Waters in a braided surtout ; 
there was Mr. Cymon Tuggs in piunps and a gilt waistcoat ; 
there was Mr. Joseph Tuggs in a blue coat, and a shirt-frill. 

" Numbers three, eight, and eleven ! " cried one of the 
young ladies in the maroon-coloured gowns* 

*' Nimibers three, eight, and eleven!" echoed another young 
lady in the same uniform. 

"Number three's gone," said the first young lady. 
" Numbers eight and eleven ! " 

"Numbers eight and eleven!" echoed the second young 
lady. 

" Number eight *s gone, Maiy Ann," said the first young 
lady. 

" Number eleven ! " screamed the second. 

" The numbers are all taken now, ladies, if you please," said 
the first. The representatives of numbers three, eight, and 
eleven, and the rest of the numbers, crowded round the table. 

"Will you throw, ma'am?" said the presiding goddess, 
handing the dice-box to the eldest daughter of a stout lady, 
with four girls. 

There was a profound silence among the lookers on. 

"Throw, Jane, my dear," said the stout lady. An inte- 
resting display of bashMness — a little blushing in a cambiic 
handkerchief — a whispering to a younger sister. 



THB TDGGS'S AT RAMSGATB. 833 

" Amelia, my dear, throw for your sister," said the stout 
lady; and then she turned to a walking advertisement of 
Rowland's Macassar OH, who stood next her, and said, " Jane 
is so very modest and retiring; but I can't be angry with her 
for it. An artless and unsophisticated girl is so truly amiable, 
that I often wish Amelia was more like her sister ! " 

The gentleman with the whiskers, whispered his admiring 
approval. 

"Now, my dear!" said the stout lady. Miss Amelia 
threw — eight for her sister, ten for herself. 

" Nice figure, Amelia," whispered the stout lady, to a thin 
youth beside her. 

"Beautiful!" 

" And such a spirit ! I am like you in that respect. I can 
not help admiring that life and vivacity. Ah ! (a sigh) I 
wish I could make poor Jane a little more like my dear 
Amelia ! " 

The young gentleman cordially acquiesced in the sentiment ; 
both he, and the individual first addressed, were perfectly 
contented. 

"Who's this?" inquired Mr. Cymon Tuggs of Mrs. 
Captain Waters, as a short female, in a blue velvet hat and 
feathers, was led into the orchestra, by a fat man in black 
tights, and cloudy Berlins. 

"Mrs. Tippin, of the London theatres," replied Belinda, 
referring to the programme of the concert. 

The talented Tippin having condescendingly acknowledged 
the clapping of hands, and shouts of " bravo ! " which greeted 
her appearance, proceeded to sing the popular cavatina of 
"Bid me discourse," accompanied on the piano by Mr. Tippin; 
after which, Mr. Tippin sang a comic song, accompanied on 
the piano by Mrs. Tippin : the applause consequent upon 
whidi, was only to be exceeded by the enthusiastic approba- 
tion bestowed upon an air with variations on the guitar, by 
Miss Tippin, accompanied on the chin by Master Tippin. 

Thus passed the evening ; thus passed the days and even- 
ings of tiie Tuggs's, and the Waters's, for six weeks. Sands 
in the momiug — donkeys at noon — ^pier in the afternoon — 
library at night — and the same people everywhere. 

On that very night six weeks, the moon was shining 
brightly over the calm sea, which dashed against the feet of 
the tall gaimt cliffs, with jiist enough noise to lull the old fish 



384 SEETOHBS BT BOSS. 

to sleep, without disturbing the young ones, when two figures 
were discernible — or would have been, if anybody had looked 
for them — seated on one of the wooden benches which are 
stationed near the verge of the western diff. The moon had 
climbed higher into the heavens, by two hours' journeying, 
since those figures first sat down — ^and yet they had moved 
not. The crowd of loungers had thinned and dispersed ; the 
noise of itinerant musicians had died away ; light after light 
had appeared in the windows of the different houses in the 
distance ; blockade-man after blockade-man had passed the 
spot, wending his way towards his solitary post; and yet 
those figures had remained stationary. Some portions of tiie 
two forms were in deep shadow, but the light of the moon 
fell strongly on a puce-coloured boot and a glazed stock. Mr. 
Cymon Tuggs, and Mrs. Captain Waters, were seated on that 
bench. They spoke not, but were silently gazing on the sea. 

" Walter will return to-morrow," said Mrs. Captain Waters, 
mournfully breaking silence. 

Mr. C}mion Tuggs sighed like a gust of wind through a 
forest of gooseberry bushes, as he replied, " Alas he wilL" 

'' Oh, Cymon ! " resumed Belijuda, " the chaste delight, the 
cabn happiness, of this one week of Platonic love, is too modi 
forme!" 

Cymon was about to suggest that it was too little &r hinv 
but he stopped himself, and murmured unintelligibly. 

*' And to think that even this glimpse of happineaB^ umo- 
oent as it is," exdaimed Belinda^ ''is now to be lost for 
everl" 

'' Oh, do not say for ever, Belinda," exdaimed the ezcdtable 
Cymon, as two strongly-defined tears ehased each other down 
his pale iacQ — ^it was so long that there was plenty of room 
for a chase — ** Do not say for ever ! " 

" I must," replied Belinda. 

"Why?" urged Cymon, "oh why? Suoh Platonic 
aoquaintanoe as ours, is so harmless^ that even your hiubtiid 
can never object to it." 

" My husband ! " exdaimed Belinda. . " You little know 
him. Jealous and revengeful; ferodous in his revenge— ^i 
maniac in Ms jealousy ! Would you be assassinated before 
my eyes ? " Mr. Cymon Tuggs, in a voice broken by emotion, 
expressed his disinclination to undergo the process of wppni- 
natibn before the eyes of anybody. 



THE TUOOS^S AT RAldBSATE. ZU 

" Then leave me," said Mrs. Captain Waters. " Leave me, 
this mght, for ever. It is late ; let us return." 

Mr. Cjmon Tuggs sadly offered the lady his arm, and 
escorted her to her lodgings. He paused at tiie door — ^he felt 
a Platonic pressure of his hand. *' Good night," he said, 
hesitating. 

" Good night," sobbed the lady. Mr. Cymon Tuggs paused 
again. 

" Won't you walk in, sir ? " said the servant. Mr. Tuggs 
hesitated. Oh, that hesitation ! He did walk in. 

*' Good night ! " said Mr. Cymon Tuggs again, when ho 
reached the drawing-room. 

" Good night ! " replied Belinda ; " and, if at any period of 
my life, I — Hush ! " The lady paused and stared, with a 
steady gaze of horror, on the aabj countenance of Mr. Cymon 
Tuggs. There was a double knock at the street-door. 

" It is my husband ! " said Belinda, as the captain's voice 
was heard below. 

" And my family ! " added Cymon Tuggs, as the voices of 
his relatives floated up the staircase. 

** The curtain ! The curtain ! " gasped Mrs. Captain 
Waters, pointing to the window, before which some chintz 
hangings were closely drawn. 

''But I have done nothing wrong," said the hesitating 
Cymon. 

'' The curtain ! " reiterated the frantic lady : '' you will be 
mxurdered." This last appeal to his feelings was irresiBtible. 
The dismayed Cymon concealed himself behind the curtain^ 
with pantomimic suddemiess. 

Enter the captain, Joseph Tuggs, Mrs. Tuggs, and Charlotta. 

''My dear," said the captain, "Lieutenant Slaughter." 
Two iron-shod boots and one gruff voice were heard by Mr. 
Cymon to advance, and acknowledge the honour of the intro- 
duction. The sabre of the lieutenant rattled heavily upon the 
floor, as he seated himself at the table. Mr. Cymon's fears 
almost overcame his reason. 

" The brandy, my dear ! " said the captain. Here was a 
situation ! They were going to make a night of it ! And 
Mr. Cymon Tuggs was pent up behind the curtain and a&aid 
to breathe ! 

" Slaughter," said the captain, " a cigar ? " 

Now, Mr. Cymon Tuggs never could smoke, witliout feeling 



836 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

it indispensably necessary to retire, immediately, and new 
could smell smoke without a strong disposition to congli. The 
cigars were introduced ; the captain was a professed smoker ; 
fio was the lieutenant ; so was Joseph Tuggs. The apartment 
was small, the door was closed, the smoke powerful : it hung 
in heavy wreathes over the room, and at length found its way 
behind the curtain. Cymon Tuggs held his nose, his moutii, 
his breath. It was all of no use — out came the cough. 

" Bless my soul ! " said the captain, " I beg your pardon, 
Miss Tuggs. You dislike smoking ? " 

" Oh, no; I don't indeed," said Charlotta. 

*' It makes you cough." 

"Oh dear no." 

" You coughed just now." 

"Me, Captain Waters! Lorl ho^Tcab you say so?" 

" Somebody coughed," said the captain. ' 

"I certainly thought so," said Slaughter. No.; evQjr- 
body denied it. 

" Fancy," said the captain. 

" Must be," echoed Slaughter. 

CigaiB resumed — more smoke — ^^another cough — smOlhered, 
but violent. 

** Damned odd ! " said the captain, staring about him. 

" Sing'ler ! " ejaculated the unconscious Mr. Joseph Tuggs. 

Lieutenant Slaughter looked first at one person mysterioui^y. 
then at another ; then, laid down his cigar ; then, approached 
the window on tiptoe, and pointed with his right thumb over 
Ills shoulder, in the direction of the curtain. 

" Slaughter ! " ejaculated the captain, rising from table, 
" what do you mean ? " 

The lieutenant, in reply, drew back ihe curtain and dis- 
covered Mr. Cymon Tuggs behind it; pallid with appre- 
hension, and blue with wanting to cough. 

" Aha ! " exclaimed the captain furiously, '* What do I 
see ? Slaughter, your sabre ! " 

** Cymon ! " screamed the Tuggs's. 

" Mercy ! " said Belinda. 

" Platonic ! " gasped Cymon. 

'* Your sabre ! " roared the captain : " Slaughter — imhand 
me— the villain's life ! " 

'* Murder ! " screamed the Tuggs's. 

*^ Hold him fast, sir ! " faintly articulated Cymon* 




Cmp^^^^ 



-V^'/.////" V^// ^/-//^ 



HOBATIO SPABEIK8. 23l 

<< Water!" exclaimed Joseph Toggs — and Mr. Cymon 
Taggs and all the ladies forthwith fednted away, and formed a 
tableau. 

Most willingly would we conceal the disastrous termination 
of the six weeks' acquaintance. A troublesome form, and an 
arbitrary custom, however, prescribe that a stoiy should have 
a coDGliision, in addition to a commencement ; we have therefore 
no alternative. Lieutenant Slaughter brought a message — 
the captain brought an action. Mr. Joseph Tuggs interposed 
— ^the lieutenant negotiated. When Mr. Cymon Tuggs 
recovered from the nervous disorder into which misplaced 
affection, and exciting circumstances had plunged him, he 
found that his feimily had lost their pleasant acquaintance ; 
that his father was minus fiflteen hundred pounds ; and the 
captain plus the precise sum. The money was paid to hush 
the matter up, but it got abroad notwithstanding ; and there 
are not wanting some who affirm that three designing im- 
postors never foimd more easy dupes, than did Captain Waters, 
Mrs. Waters, and Lieutenant Slaughter, in the Tuggs's at 
Ramsgate. 



CHAPTER V. 



HOBATIO SPABKINS. 



** Indeed, my love, he paid Teresa very great attention on 
the last assembly night," said Mrs. Malderton, addressing her 
spouse, who, after the fatigues of the day in the City, was 
sitting with a silk handkerchief over hia head, and his feet on 
the fender, drinking his port; — ''vary great attention; and 
I say again, every possible encouragement ought to be given 
him. He positively must be asked down here to dine." 

** Who must ? " inquired Mr. Malderton. 

'* Why, you know whom I mean, my dear — ^the young man 
with the black whiskers and the white cravat, who has just 
come out at our assembly, and whom all the girls are talking 

about. Young dear me! what's his name? — ^Marianne 

what i$ his name?" continued Mrs. Malderton, addressing 
her youngest daughter, who was engaged in netting a purse 
and looking sentimentaL 



8S8 8EBT0HBS BT BOZ. 

** Mr. Horatio Sparkans, ma/' replied Miss Marianne, irith 
asigh. 

'' Oh ! jes, to be sure — Horatio Sparkins/' said Mre. 
Malderton. '^ Decidedly the most gentlemoa-like joung man 
I ever saw. I am sure, in the beantifiilly made ooat lie wore 
the other night, he looked like — like " 

'^ Like Prince Leopold, ma — so noble, so fall of seatament !'' 
suggested Mariamie, in a tone of enthnsiastic admiratioia. 

'' You should reooUect, mj dear/' resumed Mrs. Malderton, 
'' that Teresa is now eight-aud-twenty ; and that it redQj is 
very important that something should be done." 

MiBB Teresa Malderton was a very little girl, railier fat, 
with vermilion cheeks, but good-humoured, and still dis- 
engaged, although to do her justice, the misfortune arose 
from no lack of perseverance on her part. In vain, had die 
flirted for ton years; in vain, had Mr. and Mrs. Malderton 
assiduously kept up an extensive acquaintance among the 
young eligible bachelors of Camberwell, and even of Wands- 
worth and Brixton; to say nothing of those who ''dropped 
in " from town. Miss Malderton was as well known aa the 
lion on the top of Northumberland House, and had an equal 
chance of " going off." 

''I am quite sure you 'd like him," continued Mrs. 
Malderton ; " he is so gentlemanly ! " 

'' So clever ! " said Miss Marianne. 

'' And has such a flow of language ! " added Miss Teresa. 

''He has a great respect for you, my dear/' said Mrs. 
Malderton to her husband. Mr. Malderton coughed, and 
looked at the Are. 

" Yes, I 'm sure he 's very much attached to pa*s society," 
said Miss Marianne. 

" No doubt of it," echoed Miss Teresa. 

" Indeed, he said as much to me in confidence," observed 
Mrs. Malderton. 

" Well, well," returned Mr. Malderton, somewhat flattered; 
'' If I see him at the assembly to-morrow, perhaps I 'U ask 
him down. I hope he knows we live at Oak Lodge, Camber- 
well, my dear ? " 

" Of course — and that you keep a one-horse carriage." 

" I '11 see about it," said Mr. Malderton^ composing himself 
for a nap; " I '11 see about it." 

Mr. Malderton was a man whose wjiole scope of ideas wai 



HOKAno 8PABKINS. 880 

limited to Lloyd's, the Ezchaoge, the India House, and the 
Bank. A few suooeesM speculations had raised him £rom a 
situation of obscurity and comparatiTe poverty, to a state of 
afBiuenoe. As j&equently happens in such cases, the ideas of 
himself and his family became elevated to an extraordinary 
pitch as their means increased ; they affected fashion, taste, 
and many other fooleries, in imitation of their betters, and 
had a veiy decided and becoming horror of anything which 
could, by possibility, be considered low. He was hospitable 
£rom ostentation, illiberal &om ignorance, and prejudiced 
from conceit. Egotism and the love of display induced him 
to keep an excellent table: convenience, and a love of good 
things of this lifs, ensured him plenty of guests. He liked to 
have dever men, or what he considered such, at his table, 
because it was a great thing to talk about; but he never 
could endure what he called " sharp fellows." Probably, he 
chaiished this feeling out of compliment to his two sons, who 
gave their respected parent no uneasiness in that particular. 
The family were ambitious of forming acquaintances and 
conneadons in some sphere of society superior to that in which 
ihey themselves moved; and one of the necessary oonsequenoes 
of this desire, added to their utter ignorance of the world 
beyond their own small circle, was, that any one who could 
lay claim to an acquaintance with people of rank and title, 
Ixad a sure passport to the table at Oak Lodge, Camberwell. 

The appearance of Mr. Horatio Sparkins at the assembly 
had excited no small degree of surprise and curiosity among 
its regular frequenters. Who could he be ? He was evidently 
reserved, and apparently melandholy. Was he a dergyman ? 
— He danced too well. A barrister ? — He said he was not 
called. He used very fine words, and talked a great deal 
Could he be a distinguished fbreigner, come to England for the 
purpose of describing the country, its manners and customs ; 
and frequenting public balls and public dinners, with the view 
of becoming acquainted with high life, poliahed etiquette and 
English re^ement ? — No, he had not a foreign accent. Was 
he a surgeon, a contributor to the magazines, a writer of 
fashionable novels, or an artist ? — No ; to each and all of 
these surmises, there existed some valid objection. — '* Then," 
said every body, " he must be scmsbody.'* — " I should think he 
must be," reasoned Mr. Malderton, with himself, " because he 
perceives our superiority, and pays us so much attention." 

z2 



840 8EETGHKS BY BOZ. 

The night saooeeding the oonTersation we have just 
recorded, was " ajgaemhly night." The double-fly was ordered 
to be at the door of Oak Lodge at nine o'clock precisely. The 
Miss Maldertons were dressed in sky-blue satin tzimmed with 
artificial flowers ; and Mrs. M. (who was a little fat woman}, 
in ditto ditto, looked like her eldest daughter multiplied by 
two. Mr. Frederick Malderton, the eldest son, in fuU-dress 
costume, was the very beau ideal of a smart waiter ; and Mr. 
Thomas Malderton, the youngest, with his white dress-stocky 
blue coat, bright buttons, and red watch-iibbon, strongly 
resembled the portrait of that interesting, but rash young 
gentleman, George Barnwell. Every member of the par^ 
had made up his or her mind to cultivate the acquaintance al 
Mr. Horatio Sparkins. Miss Teresa, of course, was to be a? 
amiable and interesting as ladies of eight-and-twenty on the 
look-out for a husband, usually are. Mrs. Malderton would 
be all smiles and graces. Miss Marianne would request the 
favour of some verses for her album. Mr. Malderton would 
patronise the great unknown by asking him to dinner. Tom 
intended to ascertain the extent of his information on the 
interesting topics of snuff and cigars. Even Mr. Frederick 
Malderton himself, the family authority on all points of taste, 
dress, and fashionable arrangement ; who had lodgings of his 
own in town; who had a firee admission to Covent-garden 
theatre ; who always dressed according to the fashions of the 
months ; who went up the water twice a-week in the season; 
and who actually had an intimate fiiend who once knew a 
gentleman who formerly lived in the Albany,— even he had 
determined that Mr. Horatio Sparkins must be a devilish 
good fellow, and that he would do* him the honour of chal- 
lenging him to a game at billiards. 

The flrst object that met the anxious eyes of the expectant 
family on their entrance into the ball-room, was the interesting 
Horatio, with his hair brushed off his forehead, and his eyes 
fixed on the ceiling, reclining in a contemplative attitude on 
one of the seats. 

" There he is, my dear/' whispered Mrs. Malderton to Mr. 
Malderton. 

*' How like Lord Byron ! " murmured Miss Teresa. 

" Or Montgomery ! " whispered Miss Marianne. 

** Or the portraits of Captain Cook ! " suggested Tom. 

" Tom-— don't be an ass ! '' said his father, who checked him 



HORATIO SPABEINS. 841 

on all oocasionsy probably with a view to prevent his becoming 
** aharp " — ^wbioh was veiy mmeoessaiy. 

The elegant Sparkins attitudinised with admirable effect, 
until the family had crossed the room. He then started up, 
with the most natural appearance of surprise and delight; 
accosted Mrs. Malderton with the utmost cordiality ; saluted 
the young ladies in the most enchanting manner ; bowed to, 
and shook hands with, Mr. Malderton, with a degree of 
respect amounting almost to veneration; and returned the 
greetings of the two young men in a half-gratified, half- 
patronising manner, which fully convinced them that he must 
be an important, and, at the same time, condescending per- 
sonage. 

** Miss Malderton,'' said Horatio, after the ordinary salu- 
tations, and bowing very low, "may I be permitted to 
presume to hope that you will allow me to have the 
pleasure- 



' I don't think I am engaged," said Miss Teresa, with a 
dreadful affectation of indifference — "but, really — so many — " 

Horatio looked handsomely miserable. 

" I shall be most happy," simpered the interesting Teresa, 
at last. Horatio's countenance brightened up, like an old hat 
in a shower of rain. 

" A very genteel young man, certainly ! " said the gratified 
Mr. Malderton, as the obsequious Sparkins and his partner 
joined the quadnUe which was just forming. 

" He has a remarkably good address," said Mr. Frederick. 

" Yes, he is a prime fellow," interposed Tom, who always 
nxanaged to put his foot in it — "he talks just like an 
auctioneer." 

" Tom ! " said his father solemnly, " I think I desired you, 
before, not to be a fool." Tom looked as happy as a cock on 
a drizzly morning. 

"How delightful !" said the interesting Horatio to his 
partner, as they promenaded the room at the conclusion of the 
set — " how deUghtful, how refreshing it is, to retire from the 
cloudy storms, the vicissitudes, and the troubles, of life, even 
if it be but for a few short fleeting moments ; and to spend 
those moments, fading and evanescent though they be, in the 
delightful, the blessed, society, of one individual — whose 
frowns would be death, whose coldness would be madnea^ 
whose falsehood would be ruin, whose constancy would be 



842 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

bliss ; the possession of whose af^ctlon would be the brightest 
and best reward thai Heaven ootdd bestow on man ! " 

*' Whsi feeling ! what sentiment ! '' thought Miss Teresa^ as 
she leaned more heavily on her companion's arm. 

'' But enough — enough ! " resumed the elegant Sparkma, 
with a theatrical air. '' What have I said? what hare I — ^I 
— ^to do with sentiments like these ! Miss Malderton — " here 
he stopped short — ^* may I hope to be permitted to o£^ the 
humble tribute of " 

''Eeally, Mr. Spaxkins/' returned the enraptured Teroeay 
blushing in the sweetest concision, '' I must refer you to papa. 
I never can, without his consent, venture to— " 

" Surely he cannot object — " 

"Oh, yes. Indeed, indeed, you know him not!" inter- 
rupted Miss Teresa, well knowing there was nothing to fear, 
but wishing to make the interview resemble a scene in some 
romantic novel. 

" He cannot object to my offering you a glass of negus," 
returned the adorable Sparkhis, with some suipriae. 

" Is that all ? " thought the disappointed Teresa. " What 
a fiiss about nothing ! " 

" It will give me the greatest pleasure, sir, to see you io 
dinner at Oak Lodge, CamberweU, on Sunday next at five 
o'clock, if you have no better engagement," said Mr. Malderton, 
at the condusion of the evening, as he and his sons were 
standing in conversation with Mr. Horatio Sparkins. 

Horatio bowed his acknowledgments, and accepted the 
flattering invitation. 

" I must confess," continued the father, offering his snuff- 
box to his new acquaintance, "that I don't enjoy these 
assemblies half so much as the comfort — I had almost said 
the luxury— of Oak Lodge. They have no great charms for 
an elderly man." 

" And, after all, sir, what is man ? " said the metaphysical 
Sparkins. " I say, what is man ? " 

" Ah ! very true," said Mr. Malderton ; " very true." 

" We know that we live and breathe," continued Horatio ; 
" that we have wants and wishes, desires and appetites — " 

" Certainly," said Mr. Frederick Malderton, looking pro- 
found. 

" I say, we know that we exist," repeated Horatio, raising 
his voice, " but there, we stop ; there is an end to our know- 



HORATIO SFAKEINS. 34S 

ledge ; there, is the summit of our attaimnents ; there, is the 
termination of onr ends. What more do we know ? '' 

'* Nothing/' replied Mr. Frederick — -than whom no one was 
more capable of answering for himself in that particular. Tom 
was about to hazard something, but, fortunately for his repu- 
tation, he caught his father's angry eye, and slunk off like a 
puppy convicted of petty larceny. 

'' Upon my word," said Mr. Malderton the elder, as they 
were returning home in the Fly, "that Mr. Sparkins is a 
wonderful young man. Such surprising knowledge ! such 
extraordinary information ! and such a splendid mode of 
expressing himself! ** 

" I think he must be somebody in disguise," said Miss 
Marianne. " How charmingly romantio ! " 

" He talks very loud and nicely," timidly observed Tom, 
" but I don't exactly imderstand what he means." 

« I almost begin to despair of yowr understanding anything, 
Tom," said his £Eith6r, who, of course, had been much 
enlightened by Mr. Horatio Sparkins' oonyersation. 

" It strikes me, Tom," said Miss Teresa, " that you have 
made yourself very ridiculous this evening." 

"No doubt of it," cried everybody — and the unfortunate 
Tom reduced himself into the least possible space. That 
night, Mr. and Mrs. Malderton had a long conversation 
respecting their daughter's prospects and future arrange- 
ments. Miss Teresa went to bed, considenng whether, in the 
event of her marrying a title, she could conscientiously 
encourage the visits of her present associates ; and dreamed, 
all night, of disguised noblemen, large routs, ostrich plumes, 
bridal favours, and Horatio Sparkins. 

Various surmises were hazarded on the Sunday morning, as 
to the mode of conveyance which the anxiously expected 
Horatio would adopt. Did he keep a gig ? — was it possible 
he could come on horseback ? — or would he patronize the 
stage? These, and various other conjectures of equal im- 
portance, engrossed the attention of Mrs. Malderton and her 
daughters during the whole morning after church. 

" Upon my word, my dear, it 's a most annoying thing that 
that vulgar brother of yours should have invited himself to 
dine here to-day," said Mr. Malderton to his wife. "On 
account of Mr. SparMns's coming down, I purposely abstained 
from asking anyone but Flamwell. And then to think of 



844 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

your brodier — a tradesman — ^it's insufferable! I declaxe I 
wouldn't have him mention his shop, before our new guest — 
no, not for a thousand pounds ! I wouldn't care if he had the 
good sense to conceal the disgrace he is to the family ; but 
he 's so fond of his horrible business, t}iat he wiU let people 
know what he is.'' 

Mr. Jacob Barton, the individual alluded to, was a hrgb 
grocer ; so vulgar, and so lost to all sense of feeling, that he 
actually never scrupled to avow that he wasn't above his 
business : " he 'd made his money by it, and he didn't care 
who know'd it." 

"Ah! Flamwell, my dear feUow, how d'ye do?" said 
Mr. Malderton, as a little spoffish man, with green spectacles, 
entered the room. " You got my note ? " 

" Yes, I did ; and here 1 am in consequence." 

" You don't happen to know this Mr. Sparkins by name ? 
You know everybody ? " 

Mr. Flamwell was one of those gentlemen of remarkably 
extensive information whom one occasionally meets in socieh', 
who pretend to know everybody, but in realiiy know nobody. 
At Malderton's, where any stories about great people were 
received with a greedy ear, he was an especial favourite ; and, 
knowing the kind of people he had to deal with, he carried 
his • passion of claiming acquaintance with everybody, to the 
most immoderate length. He had rather a singular way of 
telling his greatest lies in a parenthesis, and with an air of 
self-denial, as if he feared being thought egotistical. 

" Why, no, I don't know him by that name," returned 
Flamwell, in a low tone, and with an air of immense import- 
ance. " 1 have no doubt 1 know him, though. Is he 
tall?" 

" Middle sized," said Miss Teresa. 

*' With black hair ? " inquired Flamwell, hazarding a bold 
guess. 

** Yes," returned Miss Teresa, eagerly. 

" Rather a snub nose ? " 

** No," said the disappointed Teresa, " he has a Roman 
nose." 

" I said a Roman nose, didn't I ? " inquired FlamwelL 
" He 's an elegant young man ? " 

" Oh, certaioly." 

" With remarkably prepossessing manners ? " 



HOKATIO SPABKINB. U5 

" Ohy yes ! " said all the femulj together. '^ You must 
know him." 

''Yes, I thought you knew him, if he was anybody/* 
triumphantly exclaimed Mr. Malderton. '' Who d' ye think 
he is?" 

" Why, from your description," said Flamwell, ruminating, 
and sinldng his voice, almost to a whisper, " he bears a strong 
resemblance to the Honourable Augustus Fitz-Edward Fitz- 
John Fitz-Osbome. He 's a very talented yomig man, and 
rather eccentric. It 's extremely probable he may histve 
changed his name for some temporary purpose." 

Teresa's heart beat high. Could he be the Honourable 
Augustus Fitz-Edward Fitz-John Fitz-Osbome ! What a 
name to be elegantly engraved upon two glazed cards, tied 
together with a piece of white satin ribbon ! ''The Honourable 
Mrs. Augustus Fitz-Edward Fitz-John Fitz-Osbome ! " The 
thought was transport. 

" It 's five minutes to £ve," said Mr. Malderton, looking at 
his watch : " I hope he 's not going to disappoint us." 

" There he is ! " exclaimed Miss Teresa, as a loud double- 
knock was heard at the door. Everybody endeavoured to 
look — as people when they particularly expect a visitor always 
do— as if they were perfectly imsuspicious of the approach of 
anybody. 

The room-door opened — " Mr. Barton ! " said the servant. 

" Confound the man! " murmured Malderton. "Ah! my 
dear sir, how d* ye do ! Any news ? " 

** Why no," returned the grocer, in his usual bluff manner. 
"No, none partickler. None that I am much aware of. 
How d' ye do, gals and boys ? Mr. Flamwell, sir — ^glad to 
see you." 

** Here *s Mr. Sparkins ! " said Tom, who had been looking 
oat at the window, "on such a black horse!" There was 
Horatio, sure enough, on a large black horse, curvetting and 
prancing along, like an Astle/s supernumerary. After a 
great deal of reining in, and pulling up, with the accompani- 
ments of snorting, rearing, and kicking, the animal consented 
to stop at about a hundred yards from the gate, where Mr. 
^arldns dismounted, and confided him to the care of Mr. 
Malderton's groom. The ceremony of introduction was gone 
through, in all due form. Mr. Flamwell looked from behind 
his green spectacles at Horatio with an air of mysterious 



846 SEETOHBS BY BOZ. 

impQrtance ; and the gaUant Horatio looked unutterable things 
at Teresa. 

** Is he the Honourable Mr. Augustus what 's his name ? " 
whispered Mrs. Malderton to Flamwell, as he was esoortiiig 
her to the dining-room. 

''Why, no— -at least not exactly/' retained that great 
authority — " not exactly." 

"Who » he then?" 

** Hush ! " said Flamwell, nodding his head with a grave 
air, importing that he knew very well ; but was preveiited, by 
some grave reasons of state, from disdosing Ihe important 
secret. It might be one of the ministers making him»ft1f 
acquainted with the views of the people. 

" Mr. Sparkins/' said the delighted Mrs. Malderton, " pray 
divide the ladies. John, put a chair for the gentleman 
between Miss Teresa and Miss Marianne." This was addressed 
to a man who, on ordinary occasions, acted as half-groom, 
half-gardener; but who, as it was important to make an 
impression on Mr. Sparkins, had been forced into a white 
neckerchief and shoea, and touched up, and brushed, to look 
like a second footman. 

The dinner was excellent ; Horatio was most attentive to 
Miss Teresa, and everyone felt in high spirits, except Mr. 
Malderton, who, knowing the propensity of his brother-in-law, 
Mr. Barton, endured that sort of agony which the newspapers 
inform us is experienced by the surrounding neighbourhood 
when a pot-boy hangs himself in a hay-loft, and which is 
" much easier to be imagined than described." 

"Have you seen your Mend, Sir Thomas Noland, lately, 
FlamweU ? " inquired Mr. Malderton, casting a sidelong look 
at Horatio, to see what effect the mention of so great a man 
had upon him. 

" Why, no — ^not very lately. I saw Lord Qubbleton the 
day before yesterday." 

" Ah ! I hope his lordship is very well ? " said Maldeiton, 
in a tone of the greatest interest. It is scarcely necessaxy to 
say that, until that moment, he had been quite innocent of 
the existence of such a person. 

" Why, yes ; he. was veiy well — ^very well indeed. He *8 a 
deviHsh good fellow. I met him in the City, and had a long 
chat with him. Indeed, I 'm rather intimate with him. I 
couldn't stop to talk to him as long as I could wish, though. 



HOBATIO SPAREINa 347 

because I was on my way to a baoker'Sy a vety rich man, and 
a member of Parliament, with wbom I am also ratiher, indeed 
I may say very, intimate." 

" I know whom you mean," returned the host, consequen- 
tially — ^in reality knowing as much about the matter as 
Plamwell himself. " He has a capital business." 

This was touching on a dangerous topic. 

« Talking of business," interposed Mr. Barton, from the 
centre of the table. ''A gentleman whom you knew very 
well, Malderton, before you made that first lucky spec of 
yours, called at our shop the other day, and — " 

'' Barton, may I trouble you for a potato," interrupted the 
wretched master of the house, hoping to nip the story in 
the bud. 

" Certainly," refcumed the grocer, quite insensible of his 
brother-in-law's object — "and he said in a very plain 



^'Floury, if you please," interrupted Malderton again; 
dreading the termination of the anecdote, and fearing a 
repetition of the word " shop." 

" He said, says he," continued the culprit, after despateh- 
ing the potato ; '' says he, how goes on your business ? So 
I saidy jokingly — ^you know my way — says I, I'm never 
above my business, and I hope my business will never be 
above me. Ha, ha ! " 

"Mr. Sparkins," said the host, vainly endeavouring to 
oonceal his dismay, " a glass of wine ? " 

" With the utmost pleasure, sir." 

" Happy to see you." 

•^' Thank you." 

" We were talking the other evening," resumed the host, 
addzessing Horatio, partly with the view of displaying the 
conversational powers of his new acquaintance, and partly in 
the hope of drowning the grocer's stories — " we were talking 
the other night about the nature of man. Your argument 
struck me very forcibly." 

"And me," said Mr. Frederick. Horatio made a graceful 
inclination of the head. 

" Pray, what is your opinion of woman, Mt. Sparkins ? " 
inquired Mrs. Malderton. The young ladies simpered. 

"Man," relied Horatio, "man, whether he ranged the 
bright, gay, flowery plains of a second Eden, or the more 



848 8KBT0HES BT BOZ. 

sterile, barren, and I may saj, common-place regions, ti> 
wliicli we are compelled to accustom ourselTes, in times such 
as these ; man, under any circumstances, or in any place— 
whether he were bending beneath the witiiering blasts of the 
frigid zone, or scorching under the rays of a vertical sun— ^ 
man, without woman, would be — alone." 

'' I am very happy to £nd you entertain such honourable 
opinions, Mr. Sparkias,'' said Mrs. Malderton. 

'' And I," added Miss Teresa. Horatio looked his delight, 
and the young lady blushed. 

" Now it *s my opinion," said Mr. Barton 

" I know what you 're going to say," interposed Malderton, 
determined not to give his relation another opportunity, '' and 
I don't agree with you." 

" What ? " inquired the astonished grocer. 

" I am sorry to dijSer from you, Barton," said the host, in 
as positive a manner as if he really were contradicting a 
position which the other had laid down, " but I cannot give 
my assent to what I consider a very monstrous proposition." 

" But I meant to say — " 
' " You never can convince me," said Malderton, with an air 
of obstinate determination. *' Never." 

"And I," said Mr. Frederick, following up his father's 
attack, " cannot entirely agree in Mr. Sparkins's argument." 

" What ! " said Horatio, who became more metaphysical, 
and more argumentative, as he saw the female part of the 
family listening in wondering delight — "What! Is e^ct 
the consequence of cause ? Is cause the precursor of effect ? " 

" That 's the point," said Flamwell. 

" To be sure," said Mr. Malderton. 

" Because, if effect is the consequence of cause, and if cause 
does precede effect, I apprehend you are wrong," added 
Horatio. 

" Decidedly," said the toad-eating FlamweU. 

"At least, I apprehend that to be the just and logical 
deduction ? " said Sparkins, in a tone of interrogation. 

" No doubt of it," chimed in Flamwell again. " It settles 
the point." 

" Well, perhaps it does," said Mr. Frederick ; " I didn't 
see it before." 

"I don't exactly see it now," thought the grocer j "but 
I cnippose it 's all right." 



HORATIO SPAKKIK8. 848 

" How wonderfully dever he is ! " whispered Mrs. Mai- 
derton to her daughters, as they retired to the drawing-room. 

'* Oh, he 's quite a love ! " said both the young ladies 
together; ''he talks like an oracle. He must have seen a 
great deal of life ! " ' 

The gentlemen being left to themselves, a pause ensued, 
during which everybody looked very grave, as if they were 
qtdte overcome by the profound nature of the previous dis- 
cussion. Flamwell, who had made up his mind to find out 
who and what Mr. Horatio Sparkins really was, first broke 
silence. 

** Excuse me, sir," said that distinguished personage, " I 
presume you have studied for the bar ? I thought of entering 
once, myself — indeed, I 'm rather intimate with some of the 
highest ornaments of that distinguished profession." 

"N — ^no!" said Horatio, with a little hesitation; "not 
exactly." 

"But you have been much among the silk gowns, or I 
mistake ? " inquired FlamweU, deferentially. 

" Nearly all my life," returned Sparkins. 

The question was thus pretty well settled in the mind of 
Mr. Flamwell. He was a young gentleman " about to be 
caUed." 

" I shouldn't like to be a barrister," said Tom, speaking 
for the first time, and looking round the table to find some- 
body who would notice the remark. 

No one made any reply. 

" I shouldn't like to wear a wig," said Tom, hazarding 
another observation. 

" Tom, I beg you will not make yourself ridiculous," said 
his fjEither. " Pray listen, and improve yourself by the con- 
versation yon hear, and don't be constantly making these 
absurd remarks." 

" Very well, fJEither," replied the unfortunate Tom, who had 
not spoken a word since he had asked for another slice of beef 
at a quarter-past five o'clock r.ic., and it was then eight. 

"Well, Tom," observed his good-natured unde, "never 
mind! I think with you. I shouldn't like to wear a wig. 
I 'd rather wear an apron." 

Mr. Malderton coughed violently. Mr. Barton resumed — 
*' For if a man 's above his business — " 

The cough returned with ten-fold violence, and did not 



350 SCBTCHRS BT BOZ. 

cease until the unfortunate cause of it, in his alarm, liad quite 
Ibrgotten what lie intended to say. 

^* Mr. Sparkins/' said flamwell, retuming to the charge, 
"do you liappen to know Mr. DeLafontaine, of Bedlord- 
equare?" 

" I liave exchanged cards mth hm ; since which, indeed, 
I have had an opportunity of serving him oonsiderahly," 
replied Horatio, sHghtly colouring ; no doubt, at having been 
betrayed into maJdng the acknowledgment. 

" You are Teiy lucky, if you have had an opportunity of 
obliging that great man," observed Flamwell, with an air of 
profound respect. 

** I don't know who he is," he whispered to Mr. Malderton, 
confidentially, as they followed Horatio up to the drawing- 
room. ''It's quite dear, however, that he belongs to the 
law, and that he is somebody of great impoirtance, and very 
highly connected." 

** No doubt, no doubt," returned his companion. 

The remainder of the evening passed away most delight- 
fully. Mr. Malderton, relieved frpm his apprehensions by 
the circumstance of Mr. Barton's falling into a profound 
sleep, was as affable and gracious as possible. Mias Teresa 
played the " Fall of Paris," as Mr. Sparkins declared, in a 
most masterly manner, and both of them, assisted l^ Mr. 
Frederick, tried over glees and trios without number; Ihey 
having made the pleasing discovery that their voioes harmo- 
nized beautifully. To be sure, they all sang the firat part; 
and Horatio, in addition to the slight drawback of having no 
ear, was perfectly innocent of knowing a note of music ; still, 
they passed the time very agreeably, and it was past twelve 
o'clock before Mr. Sparkins ordered the mourning-coach- 
looking steed to be brought out — ^an order which was only 
complied with, on the distinct understanding that he was to 
repeat his visit on the following Sunday. 

'' But, perhaps, Mr. Sparkius will form one of our party 
to-morrow evening ? " suggested Mrs. M. '' Mr. Malderton 
intends taking the girls to see the pantomime." Mr. Sparkins 
bowed, and promised to join the party in box 48, in the coarse 
of the evening. 

'' We will not tax you lor the morning," said Miss Teresa, 
bewitchingly ; ** for ma is going to take us to all sorts of 
Tilaees, shopping. I know that gentlemen have a great horror 



HOBATIO SFABEIlia 8M 

of tiiat employment." Mr. Sparkins bowed agaixi, and declared 
that he shoiild be deligbted, but businees of importance occu- 
pied him in the morning, flamwell looked at Malderton 
significantly—^'' It 's term time ! " he whispered. 

Atiwelve o'clock on the following morning, the "fly" was 
at the door of Oak Lodge, to conrey Mrs. Malderton and her 
daughters on their expedition for the day. They were to dine 
and dress for the play at a Mend's house. First, driving 
thither with their band-boxes, they departed on their first 
errand to make some purchases at Messrs. Jones, Spruggins, 
and Smith's, of Tottenham-court-road ; after which, tiiey were 
to go to Bedmayne's in Bond-street ; thence, to innumerable 
places that no one ever heard of. The young ladies beguiled 
the tediousness of the ride by eulogising Mr. Horatio Sparkins, 
sodding their mamma for taking them so fieur to save a shilling, 
and wondering whether they should erer reach their destina- 
tion. At length, the yehide stopped before a dirty*Iooking 
ticketed linen-draper's shop, with goods of all kinds, and labels 
of all sorts and sizes, in the window. There were dropsical 
figures of seven with a little three-farthings in the comer; 
" perfectly invisible to the naked eye ; " ^ee hundred and 
fi%^ thousand ladies' boas, from one Rhilb'ng and a penny half- 
penny ; real French kid shoes, at two and ninepence per pair ; 
green parasols, at an equally cheap rate ; and " every descrip- 
tion of goods," as the proprietors said — and they must know 
best — "fifty per cent, under cost-price." 

** Lor ! ma, what a place you have brought us to ! " said 
Miss Teresa; "what wotdd Mr. Sparkins say if he could 
see us ! " 

" Ah ! what, indeed ! " said Miss Marianne, horrified at 
the idea. 

" Pray be seated, ladies. What is the first article ? " 
inquired the obsequious master of the ceremonies of the 
establishment, who, in his large white neckcloth and formal 
tie, looked like a bad "portrait of a gentleman" in the 
Somerset-house exhibition. 

" I want to see some silks," answered Mrs. Malderton. 

" Directly, ma'am.— Mr. Smith ! Where is Mr. Smith ? " 

" Here, sir," cried a voice at the back of the shop. 

" Pray make haste, " Mr. Smith," said the M.C. " You 
never are to be found when you 're wanted, sir." 

Mr. Smith, thus enjoined to use all possible despatch, leaped 



852 SEBT0HE3 BY BOZ. 

over the ooimter with great agility, and placed himaelf before 
the newly arriyed customers. Mrs. Malderton uttered a &int 
scream ; Miss Teresa, who had been stooping down to talk to 
her sister, raised her head, and beheld — Horatio Sparkins ! 

" We will draw a veil,*' as novel writers say, over the scene 
that ensued. The mysterious, philosophical, romantic, meta- 
physical Sparkins — ^he who, to the interesting Teresa, seemed 
like the embodied idea of the young dukes and poetical ex- 
quisites in blue silk dressing-gowns, and ditto ditto slippers, 
of whom she had read and dreamed, but had never expected 
to behold, was suddenly converted into Mr. Samuel Smith, the 
assistant at a '' cheap shop ; " the junior partner in a slippeiy 
£rm of some three weeks' existence. The dignified evamsh- 
ment of the hero of Oak Lodge, on this unexpected recognition, 
could only be equalled by that of a furtive dog with a con- 
siderable kettie at his tail. All the hopes of the Maldertons 
were destined at once to melt away, like the lemon ices at a 
Company's dinner ; Almacks was still to them as distant as 
the North Pole ; and Miss Teresa had as much chance of a 
husband as Captain Koss had of the north-west passage. 

Years have elapsed since the occurrence of this dreadfdl 
morning. The daisies have thrice bloomed on Camberwell- 
green; the sparrows have thrice repeated their venial chirps 
in Camberwell-grove ; but the ]\iiss Maldertons ore still un* 
mated. Miss Teresa's case is more desperate than ever ; bat 
Flamwell is yet in the zenith of his reputation; and tiie 
family have the same predilection for aristocratic personages, 
with an increased aversion to anything low. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE BLACK VB[L. 



One winter's evening towards the close of the year 1800, 
or within a year or two of that time, a young medical prac- 
titioner, recendy established in business, was seated by a 
cheerful fire, in his littie parlour, listening to the wind which 
was beating the rain in pattering drops against the window, 
and rumbling dismally in the chimney. The night wan wet 



THE BLACK VBIL. ZSZ 

and cold ; lie had been waUdng through mud and water the 
whole d&j, and was now comfortably reposing in his dressing- 
gown and slippers, more than half asleep and less than half 
awake, revolving a thousand matters in his wandering imagi- 
nation. First, he thought how hard the wind was blowing, 
and how the cold, shaxp rain would be at that moment beating 
in his face, if he were not comfortably housed at home. 
Then, his mind reverted to his annual Christmas visit to his 
native place and dearest Mends ; he thought how glad they 
would all be to see him, and how happy it would make Rose 
if he could only teU her that he had found a patient at last, 
and hoped to have more, and to come down again, in a few 
months' time, and marry her, and take her home to gladden 
his lonely fireside, and stimulate him to fresh exertions. 
Then, he began to wonder when his first patient woidd 
appear, or whether he was destined, by a special dispensation 
of Providence, never to have any patients at all ; and then, he 
thought about Rose again, and dropped to sleep and dreamed 
about her, till the tones of her sweet merry voice sounded in 
his ears, and her soft tiny hand rested on his shoulder. 

There was a hand upon his shoulder, but it was neither sofb 
nor tiny ; its owner being a corpulent round-headed boy, who, 
in consideration of the sum of one shilling per week and his 
food, was let out by the parish to carry medicine and 
messages. As there was no demand for the medicine, how- 
ever, and no necessity for the messages, he usually occupied 
his unemployed hours — averaging fourteen a day — ^in abstract- 
ing peppermint drops, taking animal nourishment, and going 
to sleep. 

" A lady, sir — a lady ! " whispered the boy, rousing his 
master witix a shake. 

"What lady?" cried our Mend, starting up, not quite 
certain that his dream was an illusion, and half expecting 
that it might be Rose herself.—" What lady ? Where ? " 

" There, sir ! " replied the boy, pointing to the glass door 
leading into the surgery, with an expression of alarm which 
the veiy imusual apparition of a customer might have tended 
to excite. 

The surgeon looked towards the door, and started himself, 
for an instant, on beholding the appearance of his unlooked- 
for visitor. 

It was a singularly tall woman, dressed in deep mourning, 



a5i SEETCHBS BT BOZ. 

and standing so dose to the door that her face almost touched 
the glass. The upper part of her figure was carefully muffled 
in a black shawl, as if for the purpose of concealment ; and 
her face was shrouded by a thick black veiL She stood 
perfectly erect ; her figure was drawn up to its Ml height, 
and though the surgeon felt that the eyes beneath the veil 
were fixed on him, she stood perfectly motionless, and evinced, 
by no gesture whatever, the slightest consciousness of his 
having turned towards her. 

''Do you wish to consult me?" he inquired^ with some 
hesitation, holding open the door. It opened inwards, and 
therefore the action did not alter the position of the figure, 
which still remained motionless on the same spot. 

She slightly incHned her head in token of acquiescenoe. 

'* Pray walk in," said the surgeon. 

The figure moved a step forward; and then, turning its 
head in the direction of the boy — to his infinite honor — 
appeared to hesitate. 

'' Leave the room, Tom,'' said the young man, addressing 
the boy, whose large roimd eyes had been extended to their 
utmost width during this brief interview, *' Draw the curtain, 
and shut the door." 

The boy drew a green curtain across the glass part of the 
door, retired into the surgeiy, closed the door after him, and 
immediately applied one of his large eyes to the keyhole on 
the other side. 

The surgeon drew a chair to the fire, and motioned the 
visitor to a seat. The mysterious figure slowly moved towards 
it. As the blaze shone upon the black dress, the surgeon 
observed that the bottom of it was saturated with mud and 
rain. 

"You are very wet," he said. 

" I am," said the stranger, in a low deep voice. 

" And you are ill ? " added the surgeon, compassionately, 
for the tone was that of a person in pain. 

"I am," was the reply — "very ill: not bodily, but 
mentally. It is not for myself, or on my own behalf" con- 
tinued the stranger, "that I come to you. If I laboured 
under bodily disease, I should not be out, alone, at such an 
hour, or on such a night as this ; and if I were afflicted with 
it, twenty four hours hence, God knows how gladly I would 
lie down and pray to die. It is for another that I beseech 



THE BLACK VBIL. 355 

your aid, sir. I may be mad to ask it for him — I think I 
am ; but, night after night through the long dreary hours of 
watching and weeping, the thought has been ever present to 
my mind ; and though even I see the hopelessness of human 
assistance availing him, the bare thought of laying him in his 
grare without it, makes my blood run cold!" And a 
shudder, such as the surgeon well knew art could not produce, 
trembled through the speaker's frame. 

There was a desperate earnestness in this woman's manner, 
that went to the young man's heart. He was young in his 
profession, and had not yet witnessed enough of the miseries 
which are daily presented before the eyes of its members, to 
have grown comparatively callous to human suffering. 

''K," he said, rising hastily, "the person of whom you 
speak, be in so hopeless a condition as you describe, not a 
moment is to be lost. I will go with you instantly. Why 
did you not obtain medical advice before ? " 

" Because it would have been useless before — ^because it is 
useless even now," repHed the woman, clasping her hands 
passionately. 

The surgeon gazed, for a moment, on the black veil, as if 
to ascertain the expression of the features beneath it; its 
thickness, however, rendered such a result impossible. 

" You are ill," he said, gently, " although you do not know 
it. The fever which has enabled you to bear, without feeUng 
it, the fatigue you have evidently undergone, is burning 
within you now. Put that to your lips," he continued, pour- 
ing out a glass of water — ''compose yourself for a few 
moments, and then tell me, as calmly as you can, what the 
disease of the patient is, and how long he has been ilL When 
I know what it is necessaiy I should know, to render my visit 
serviceable to him, I am ready to accompany you." 

The stranger lifted the glass of water to her mouth, without 
raising the veil ; put it down again, untasted ; and burst into 
tears. 

" I know," she said, sobbing aloud, *' that what I say to 
you now, seems like the ravings of fever. I have been told 
so before, less kindly than by you. I am not a young 
woman ; and they do say, that as life steals on towards its 
final close, the last short remnant, worthless as it may seem to 
all beside, is dearer to its possessor than all the years that 
have gone before, connected though they be with the reool- 

aa2 



866 SESTCHSS BT BOZ. 

lection of old Mends long since dead, and jonng ones — 
children perhaps — ^who haye fallen off froiQy and forgotten one 
as completely as if they had died too. My natural term of 
life cannot be many years longer, and should be dear on that 
account ; but I would lay it down without a sigh — ^with cheer- 
folness — ^with joy — ^if what I tell you now, were only fialse, or 
imaginary. To-morrow morning, he of whom I speak will 
be, I know, though I would fa.in think otherwise, beyond the 
reach of human aid ; and yet, to-night, though he is in deadly 
peril, you must not see, and could not serre, him.'' 

" I am unwilling to increase your distress," said the sur- 
geon, after a short pause, " by making any comment on what 
you have just said, or appearing desirous to investigate a 
subject you are so anxious to conceal ; but there is an incon- 
sistency in your statement which I cannot reconcile with pro- 
bability. « This person is dying to-night, and I cannot see 
Imn when my assistance might possibly avail ; you apprehend 
it will be useless to-morrow, and yet you would have me see 
him then ! If he be, indeed, as dear to you, as your words 
and manner would imply, why not try to save his life before 
delay and the progress of his disease render it impracticable ? " 

" God help me ! " exclaimed the woman, weeping bitterly, 
** how can I hope strangers will believe what appears incre- 
dible, even to myself? You will not see him then, sir ?" she 
added, rising suddenly. 

" I did not say that I declined to see him," replied the sur- 
geon ; " but I warn you, that if you persist in this extra- 
ordinaiy procrastination, and the individual dies, a fearful 
responsibility rests with you." 

" The responsibility will rest heavily somewhere," replied 
the stranger bitterly. "Whatever responsibility rests with 
me, I am content to bear, and ready to answer." 

"As I incur none," continued the surgeon, "by acceding 
to your request, I will see him in the morning, if you leave 
me the address. At what hour can he be seen ? " 

" Nine,** replied the stranger. i 

" You must excuse my pressing these inquiries," said the | 
surgeon. " But is he in your charge now ? " , 

" He is not," was her rejoinder. 

" Then, if I gave you instructions for his treatment through 
the night, you could not assist him ? " 

The woman wept bitterly, as she replied, " I could not" 



THE BLACK YBIU 397 

Finding that there was but little prospect of obtaining more 
information by prolonging the interview; and anxious to 
fipare the woman's feelings, which, subdued at first by a 
violent effort^ were now irrepressible and .most painful to 
witness ; the surgeon repeated his promise of calling in the 
morning at the appointed hour. His visitor, after giving him 
a direction to an obscure part of Walworth, left the house in 
the same mysterious manner in which she had entered it. 

It will be readily belieyed that so extraordinary a visit pro- 
duced a considerable impression on the mind of the young 
surgeon ; and that he speculated a great deal and to very little 
purpose on the possible circumstances of the case. In common 
with the generaliiy of people, he had often heard and read of 
singular instances, in which a presentiment of death, at a par- 
ticular day, or even minute, had been entertained and realised. 
At one moment he was inclined to think that the present 
might be such a case ; but, then, it occurred to him that all 
the anecdotes of the kind he had ever heard, were of persons 
who had been troubled with a foreboding of their o^vn death. 
'This woman, however, spoke of another person — a man; and 
it was impossible to suppose that a mere dream or delusion of 
fancy would induce her to speak of his approaching dissolu- 
tion with such terrible certainty as she had spoken. It could 
not be that the man was to be murdered in the morning, and 
that the woman, originally a consenting party, and bound to 
BGCTQcy by an ^oath, had relented, and, though unable to 
prevent the commission of some outrage on the victim, had 
determined to prevent his death if possible, by the timely inter- 
position of medical aid ? The idea of such things happening 
within two miles of the metropolis appeared too wild and pre- 
posterous to be entertained beyond the instant. Then, his 
original impression that the woman's intellects were disordered, 
recurred ; and, as it was the only mode of solving the difficulty 
with any degree of satisfaction, he obstinately made up hLs 
mind to beUeve that she was mad. Certain misgivings upon 
this point, however, stole upon his thoughts at the time, and 
presented themselves again and again through the long dull 
course of a sleepless night : during which, in spite of all his 
•efforts to the contrary, he was unable to banish the black veix 
firom his disturbed imagination. 

The back part of Walworth, at its greatest distance tram 
town, is a straggling miserable place enough, even in these 



tSS SEBTCHSS BT BOZ. 

days ; but five-and-thirty years ago, the greater portion of it 
was little better than a dreary waste, inhabited by a few 
scattered people of questionable character, whose poverty pre- 
Tented their living in any better neighbourhood, or whose 
pursuits and mode of life rendered its solitude desirable. 
Very many of the houses which have since sprung up on aU 
sides, were not built until some years afterwards; and the 
great majority even of those which were sprinkled about, at 
irregular intervals, were of the rudest and most miserable 
description. 

The appearance of the place through which he walked in 
the morning, was not calculated to raise the spirits of the 
young surgeon, or to dispel any feeling of anxiety or depres- 
sion which the singular kind of visit he was about to make, 
had awakened. Striking off from the high road, his way lay 
across a marshy common, through irregular lanes, with here 
and there a ruinous and dismantled cottage fast falling to 
pieces with decay and neglect. A stunted tree, or pool of 
stagnant water, roused into a sluggish action by the heavy 
rain of the preceding night, skirted the path occasionally; 
and, now and then, a miserable patch of garden-ground, with 
a few old boards knocked together for a summer-house, and 
old palings imperfectly mended with stakes pilfered from the 
neighbouring hedges, bore testimony, at once, to the pover^ 
of the inhabitants, and the little scruple they entertained in 
appropriating the property of other people to their own use. 
OocasionaUy, a filthy-looking woman would make her appear- 
ance from the door of a dirty house, to empty the contents of 
some cooking utensil into the gutter in front, or to scream 
after a little slip-shod girl who had contrived to stagger a few 
yards from the door under the weight of a sallow infant 
almost as big as herself; but, scarcely anything was stirring 
around; and so much of the prospect as could be faintly 
traced through the cold damp mist which hung heavily over it; 
presented a lonely and dreary appearance perfectly in keeping 
with the objects we have described. 

After plodding wearily through the mud and mire ; making 
many inquiries for the place to which he had been directed ; 
and receiving as many contradictory and unBatisfactoiy replies 
in return ; the young man at length arrived before the house 
which had been pointed out to him as the object of his des- 
tination. It was a small low building, one stoxy above the 



THE BLACK YBIL. 859 

ground, with even a more desolate and unpromising exterior 
than any he had yet passed. An old yellow curtain was 
closely drawn across the window up stairs^ and the parlour 
shutters were * dosed, but not fastened. The house was 
detached from any other, and, as it stood at an angle of a 
narrow lane, there was no other habitation in sight. 

When we say that the surgeon hesitated, and walked a few 
paces beyond the house, before he could prevail upon himself 
to lift the knocker, we say nothing that need raise a smile 
upon the fieu^e of the boldest reader. The police of London 
were a very different body in that day ; the isolated position 
of the suburbs, when the rage for bnQding and the progress 
of improvement, had not yet begun to connect them with the 
main body of the city and its environs, rendered many of them 
(and this in particular) a place of resort for the worst and 
most depraved characters. Even the streets in the gayest 
parts of London were imperfectly lighted, at that time ; and 
such places as these, were left entirely to the mercy of the 
moon and stars. The chances of detecting desperate charac- 
ters, or of tracing them to their haunts, were thus rendered 
very few, and their offences naturally increased in boldness, 
as the consciousness of comparative security became the more 
impressed upon them by daily experience. Added to these 
considerations, it must be remembered that the young man 
had spent some time in the public hospitals of the metropolis ; 
and, although neither Burke nor Bishop had then gained a 
horrible notoriety, his own observation might have suggested 
to him how easily the atrocities to which the former has since 
given his name, might be committed. Be this as it may, 
whatever reflection made him hesitate, he did hesitate ; but, 
being a young man of strong mind and great personal courage, 
it was only for an instant; — ^he stepped briskly back, and 
knocked gently at the door. 

A low whispering was audible, immediately afterwards, as 
if some person at the end of the passage were conversing 
stealthily, with another on the landing above. It was 
succeeded by the noise of a pair of heavy boots upon the bare 
floor. The^door-chain was softly unfastened; the door opened; 
and a tall, ill-favoured man, with black hair, and a face as 
the surgeon often declared afterwards, as pale and haggard, 
as the countenance of any dead man he ever saw, presented 
himself. 



S60 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

'' Walk in, sir/' lie said in a low tone. 

The surgeon did so, and tlie man, having secured the door 
again, by the chain, led the way to a small back parlour at 
the extremity of the paasage. 

*' Am I in time ? *' 

'' Too soon ! ** replied the man. The surgeon turned hastily 
round, with a gesture of astoniahment not unmixed with, alarm, 
which he found it impossible to repress. 

**!£ you'll step in here, sir," said the man, who had 
evidently noticed the action — -''if you'll step in here, sir, 
you won't be detained five minutes, I assure you." 

The surgeon at once walked into the room. The man 
dosed the door, and left him alone. 

It was a little cold room, with no other furniture than two 
deal chairs, and a table of the same material. A handful of 
fire, imguarded by any fender, was burning in the grate, 
which brought out the damp if it served no more comfortable 
purpose, for the uinwhbleaome moisture was stealing down the 
walls, in long, slug-like tracks. The window, whidi was 
broken and patched in many places, looked into a small 
enclosed piece of ground, almost covered with water. Not a 
sound was to be heard, either within the house, or without. 
The young surgeon sat down by the fireplace, to await the 
result of his first professional visit. 

He had not remained in this position, many minutes, when 
the noise of some approaching vehicle struck his ear. It 
stopped ; the street-door was opened ; a low talking succeeded, 
accompanied with a shuffling noise of footsteps, along the 
passage and on the stairs, as if two or three men were engaged 
in carrying some heavy body to the room above. The creak- 
ing of the stairs, a few seconds afterwards, announced that the 
new comers having completed their task, whatever it was, 
were leaving the house. ' The door was again dosed, and the 
former silence was restored. 

Another five minutes elapsed, and the surgeon had resolved 
to explore the house, in search of some one to whom he might 
make his errand known, when the room-door opened, and his 
last night's visitor, dressed in exactly the same n^anner, with 
the veil lowered as before, motioned him to advance. The 
singular height of her form, coupled with the circumstance of 
her not speaking, caused the idea to pass across his brain, £)r 
an instant, that it might be a man disguised in woman's 



THE BLACK VEIL. 861 

attire. The hysteric sobs which issued from beneath the yeil, 
and the convulsive attitude of grief of the whole figure, how- 
ever, at once exposed the absurdity of the suspicion ; and he 
hastily followed. 

The woman led the way up stairs to the front room, and 
paused at the door, to let him enter first. It was scantily 
frimished with an old deal box, a few chairs, and a tent bed- 
stead, without hangings or cross-rails, which was covered with 
a patchwork counterpane. The dim Hght admitted through 
the curtain which he had noticed from the outside, rendered 
the objects in the room so indistinct, and communicated to all 
of them so uniform a hue, that he did not, at first, perceive 
the object on which his eye at once rested when the woman 
rushed frantically past him, and flung herself on her knees by 
the bedside. 

Stretched upon the bed, closely enveloped in a linen 
wrapper, and covered with blankets, lay a human form, stiff 
and motionless. The head and face, which were those of a 
man, were uncovered, save by a bandage which passed over 
the head and under the chin. The eyes were closed. The 
left arm lay heavily across the bed, and the woman held the 
passive hand. 

The surgeon gently pushed the woman aside, and took the 
hand in his. 

** My God! " he exclaimed, lettrng it fell involuntarily — 
*' the man is dead ! " 

The woman started to her feet and beat her hands together. 
*'0h! don't say so, sir," she exclaimed, with a burst of 
passion, amounting almost to frenzy. '' Oh ! don't say so, 
sir ! I can't bear it ! Men have been brought to life, before, 
when unskilful people have given them up for lost ; and men 
have died, who might have been restored, if proper means had 
been resorted to. Don't let him lie here, sir, without one 
effort to save him ! This very moment life may be passing 
away. Do try, sir, — do, for Heaven's sake!" — ^And while 
speaking, she hurriedly chafed, first the forehead, and then 
the breast, of the senseless form before her ; and llien, wildly 
beat the cold hands, which when she ceased to hold them, fell 
listlessly and heavily back on the coverlet. 

" It is of no use, my good woman," said the surgeon sooth- 
ingly, as he withdrew his hand from the man's breast. ** Stay 
— ^undraw that curtain ! " 



862 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

" Why ? " said the -woman, starting up. 

''Un^w that curtain!" repeated the surgeon, in an 
agitated tone. 

''I darkened the room on purpose/' said the woman, 
throwing herself before him as he rose to undraw it. — " Oh ! 
sir, have pify on me ! K it can be of no use, and he is really 
dead, do not expose that form to other eyes than mine ! " 

** This man died no natural or easy death,'' said the surgeon. 
" I must see the body ! " With a motion so sudden, that the 
woman hardly knew that he had slipped from beside her, he 
tore open the curtain, admitted the full light of day, and 
returned to the bedside. 

** There has been violence here," he said, pointing towards 
the body, and gazing intently on the face, from which the 
black veil was now, for the first time, removed. In the 
excitement of a minute before, the female had thrown off the 
bonnet and veil, and now stood with her eyes fixed upon him. 
Her features were those of a woman of about fifty, who had 
once been handsome. Sorrow and weeping had left traces 
upon them which not time itself would ever have produced 
without their aid; her face was deadly pale; and there was a 
nervous contortion of the lip, and an unnatural fire in her eye, 
which showed too plainly that her bodily and mental powers 
had nearly sunk, beneath an accumulation of misery. 

" There has been violence here," said the surgeon, preserv- 
ing his searching glance. 

" There has ! " repHed the woman. 

" This man has been murdered." 

''That I call God to witness he has," said the woman, 
passionately ; ** pitilessly, inhumanly murdered ! " 

'' By whom ? " said tiie surgeon, seizing the woman by the 
arm. 

'' Look at the butchers' marks, and then ask me ' " she 
replied. 

The surgeon turned his fistoe towards the bed, and bent over 
the body which now lay full in the light of the window. The 
throat was swollen, and a livid mark encircled it. The truth 
flashed suddenly upon him. 

'* This is one of the men who were hanged this morning ! " 
he exclaimed, turning away with a shudder. 

" It is," replied the woman, with a cold, unmeaning stare. 

" Who was he ? " inquired the surgeon. 



THE BLACK VEIL. 86^ 

^' My son,'* rejoined the woman; and fell senseless at his 
feet. 

It was true. A companion, equally guilfy with himself, 
had been acquitted for want of eyidence ; and this man had 
been left for death, and executed. To recount the circum- 
stances of the case, at this distant period, must be unnecessary, 
and might give pain to some persons still alive. The history 
was an every-day one. The mother was a widow without 
friends or money, and had denied herself necessaries to bestow 
them on her orphan boy. That boy, unmindful of her 
prayers, and forgetM of the sufferings she had endured for 
him — incessant anxiety of mind, and yoluntaiy starvation of 
body — ^had plunged into a career of dissipation and crime. 
And this was the result ; his own death by the hangman's 
hands, and his mother's shame, and incurable insaniiy. 

For many years after this occurrence, and when profitable 
and arduous avocations would have led many men to forget 
that such a miserable being existed, the young surgeon was a 
daily visitor at the side of the harmless mad woman ; not only 
soothing her by his presence and kindness, but alleviating the 
rigour of her condition by pecuniary donations for her comfort 
and support, bestowed with no sparing hand. In the transient 
gleam of recollection and consciousness which preceded her 
death, a prayer for his welfare and protection, as fervent as 
mortal ever breathed, rose irom, the lips of this poor friendless 
creature. That prayer flew to Heaven and was heard. The 
blessings he was instrumental in conferring, have been repaid 
to him a thousand-fold; but, amid all ti^e honours of rank 
and station which have since been heaped upon him, and 
whidi he has so weU earned, he c(in have no reminiscence 
more gratifying to his heart than that connected with The 
Black VeiL 



864 6KKFCHSS BT BOZ. 



CHAPTER VII. 

•IBB 8TEAX EXOURSIOK. 

Mb. Pescy Noakes was a law-stadenty inliabitiiig a set of 
chambers on the fourth floor, in one of those houses in Gray's- 
inn-square which command an extensive view of the gardens, 
and their usual adjuncts — fjaunting nursery-maids, and town- 
made children, witih parenthetical legs. Mr. Percy Noakes was 
what is generally termed — " a devilish good fellow." He had 
a large circle of acquaintance, and seldom dined at his own 
expense. He used to talk politics to papas, flatter the vtaiiy 
of mammas, do the amiable to their daughters, make pleasure 
engagements with their sons, and romp with the younger 
branches. Like those paragons of perfection, advertising {6ot- 
men out of place, he was always ** willing to make luHiself 
generally useful.^' If any old lady, whose son was in India, 
gave a ball, Mr. Percy Noakes was master of the ceremonies; if 
any young lady made a stolen match, Mr. Percy Noakes gave her 
away; if a juvenile wife presented her husband with a blooming 
cherub, Mr. Percy Noakes was either godfather, or deputy god* 
father ; and if any member of a Mend's family died, Mr. Percy 
Noakes was invariably to be seen in the second mourning coaeh, 
with a white handkerchief to his eyes, sobbing — ^to use his 
own appropriate and expressive description — " like winkin ! " 

It may readily be imagined that these numerous avocations 
were rather calculated to interfere with Mr. Percy Noakes's 
professional studies. Mr. Percy Noakes was perfectly aware 
of the faxit, and had, therefore, after mature reflection, made 
up his mind not to study at all — a laudable determination, to 
which he adhered in the most praiseworthy manner. His 
sitting-room presented a strange chaos of dress-gloves, boxing* 
gloves, caricatures, albums, invitation-cards, foils, cricket-bats, 
card-board drawings, paste, gum, and flfky other miscellaneous 
articles, heaped together in the strangest confusion. He was 
always making something for somebody, or planning some 
party of pleasure, which was his great forte. He invariably 
spoke with astonishing rapidity; was smart, spoffish, and 
eight-and-twenty. 




^y '/■ < ^ / , 



THE STEAM EXOUESION. 865 

" Splendid idea, 'pon my life ! " soliloquised Mr. Percy 
Noakes, over his morning's coffee, as Ids mind reverted to a 
suggestion whicb. had been thrown out on the previous night, 
by a lady at whose house he had spent the evening. " Glorious 
idea!— Mrs. Stubbs." 

"Yes, sir," replied a dirty old woman with an inflamed 
countenance, emerging j&om the bedroom, with a barrel of dirt 
and ciaders. — ^This was the laundress. ** Did you call, sir ! " 

" Oh ! Mrs. Stubbs, I *m going out. If that tailor should 
call again, you'd bettor say — ^you'd better say I'm out of 
town, and shan't be back for a fortnight ; and if that boot- 
maker should come, tell him I've lost his address, or I'd have 
sent him that little amount. Mind he writes it down ; and if 
Mr. Hardy should call — ^you know Mr. Hardy ? " 

" The ftmny gentleman, sir ? " 

" Ah ! the fiinny gentleman. If Mr. Hardy should call, 
say I 've gone to Mrs. Taunton's about that water-party." 

"Yes, sir." 

"And if any fellow calls, and says he's come about a 
steamer, tell him to be here at five o'clock this afternoon, 
Mrs. Stubbs." 

" Very well, sir." 

Mr. Percy Noakes brushed his hat, whisked the crumbs off 
his inexplicables with a silk handkerchief, gave the ends of his 
hair a persuasive roll roimd his forefinger, and sallied forth 
for Mrs. Taunton's domicile in Great Marlborough-street, 
where she and her daughters occupied the upper part of a 
house. She was a good-looking widow of fifty, with the form 
of a giantess and the mind of a child. The pursuit of 
pleasure, and some means of killing time, were the sole end of 
her existence. She doted on her daughters, who were as 
frivolous as herself. 

A general exclamation of satisfaction hailed the arrival of 
Mr. Percy Noakos, who went through the ordinary salutations, 
and threw himself into an easy chair near the ladies' work- 
table, with the ease of a regularly established friend of the 
family. Mrs. Taimton was busily engaged in planting 
immense bright bows on every part of a smart cap on which 
it was possible to stick one ; Miss Emily Taunton was making 
a watch-guard; Miss Sophia was at the piano, practising a 
new song — ^poetry by the young oflBcer, or the police-officer, or 
the custom-house officer, or some other interesting amateur. 



366 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

'' You good creature ! '' said Mrs. Taunton, addressing lihe 
^allaiit Percy. " You really axe a good soul ! You We come 
about the water-party, I know." 

^'I should rather suspect I had/' replied Mr. Noakes, 
triumphantly. " Now come here, girls, and I '11 tell you all 
about it." Miss Emily and Miss Sophia advanced to the 
table. 

" Now," continued Mr. Percy Noakes, " it seems to me that 
ihe best way will be, to have a committee of ten, to make all 
the arrangements, and manage the whole set-out. Then, I 
propose that the expenses shall be paid by these ten fellows 
jointly." 

" Excellent, indeed ! " said Mrs. Taunton, who highly 
approved of this part of the arrangements. 

** Then, my plan is, that each of these ten fellows shall have 
the power of asking five people. There must be a meeting of 
the committee, at my chambers, to make all the arrangements, 
and these people shall be then named ; every member of the 
committee shall have the power of black-balling any one who 
is proposed; and one black ball shall exclude that person. 
This wlU ensure our having a pleasant party, you know." 

"What a manager you are!" interrupted Mrs. Taunton 
-again. 

" Charming ! " said the lovely Emily. 

" I never did ! " ejaculated Sophia. 

" Yes, I think it '11 do," repHed Mr. "Percy Noakes, who 
-was now quite in his element. " I think it '11 do. Then you 
know we shall go down to the Nore, and back, and have a 
regular capital cold dinner laid out in the cabin before we 
start, so that everything may be ready without any confusion; 
and we shall have the lunch laid out, on deck, in those little 
tea-garden-looking concerns by the paddle-boxes — I don't 
know what you call 'em. Then, we. shall hire a steamer 
expressly for our party, and a baF.d, and have the deck 
chalked, and we shall be able to dan()e quadrilles all day; and 
then, whoever we know that's musical, you know, why they'll 
make themselves useful and agreeable ; and — and — ^upon the 
whole, I really hope we shall have a glorious day, you 
know!" 

The announcement of these arrangements was received with 
the utmost enthusiasm. Mrs. Taunton, Emily, and Sophia, 
were loud in their praises. 



THB STBAM EXCURSION. 897 

• Well, but tell me, Percy," said Mrs. Taunton, " who are 
the ten gentlemen to be ? " 

" Oh ! I know plenty of fellows who *I1 be delighted with 
the scheme," replied Mr. Percy Noakes : " of course we shall 
have " 

" Mr. Hardy ! " interrupted the servant, announcing a 
visitor. Miss Sophia and Miss Emily hastily assumed the 
most interesting attitudes that could be adopted on so short a 
notice. 

*' How are you ? " said a stout gentleman of about forty, 
pausing at the door in the attitude of an awkward harlequin. 
This was Mr. Hardy, whom we have before described, on the 
authority of Mrs. Stubbs, as ''the foxary gentleman." He 
was an Astley-Cooperish Joe Miller — a practical joker, im- 
mensely popular with married ladies, and a general favourite 
with young men. He was always engaged in some pleasure 
excursion or other, and delighted in getting somebody into a 
scrape on such occajsions. He could sing comic songs, imitate 
hackney-coachmen and fowls, play airs on his chin, and 
execute concertos on the Jews' -harp. He always eat and 
drank most immoderately, and was the bosom Mend of Mr. 
Percy Noakes. He had a red face, a somewhat husky voice, 
and a tremendous laugh. 

" How are you ? " said this worthy, laughing, as if it were 
the finest joke in the world to make a morning call, and 
shaking hands with the ladies with as much vehemence as if 
their arms had been so many pump-handles. 

"You're just the very man I wanted," said Mr. Percy 
Noakes, who proceeded to explain the cause of his being in 
requisition. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! " shouted Hardy, after hearing the state- 
ment, and receiving a detailed account of the proposed excur- 
sion. ** Oh, capital ! glorious ! What a day it will be ! 
what ^m ! — But, I say, when are you going to begin making 
the arrangements f" 

" No time like the present — at once, if you please." 

" Oh, charming ! " cried the ladies. \' Pray, do ! " 

Writing materials were laid before Mr. Percy Noakes, and 
the names of the different members of the committee were 
agreed on, after as much discussion between him and Mr. 
Hardy as if the fate of nations had depended on their appoint- 
ment. It was then agreed that a meeting should take place 



S68 SEBTOHES BY BOZ. 

at Mr. Percy Noakes's chambers on the ensuing Wednesday 
evening at eight o'clock, and the visitors departed. 

Wednesday evening arrived ; eight o'clock came, and eight 
members of the committee were punctual in their attendance. 
Mr^ Loggins, the solicitor, of Boswell-court, sent an excuse, 
and Mr. Samuel Briggs, the ditto of Fumival's Inn, sent his 
brother : much to his (the brother's) satisfaction, and greatly 
to the discomfiture of Mr. Percy Noakes. Between the 
Briggses and the Tauntons there existed a degree of implacable 
hatred, quite unprecedented. The animosity between the 
Montagues and Capulets, was nothing to that which prevailed 
between these two illustrious houses. Mrs. Briggs was a 
widow, with three daughters and two sons ; Mr. Samuel, the 
eldest, was an attorney, and Mr. Alexander, the youngest, was 
imder articles to his brother. They resided in Portland-street, 
Oxford-street, and moved in i^e same orbit as the Tauntons — 
hence their mutual dislike. If the Miss Briggses appeared in 
smart bonnets, the Miss Tauntons eclipsed them with smarter. 
If Mrs. Taunton appeared in a cap of aU the hues of the 
rainbow, Mrs. Briggs forthwith mounted a toque, with all the 
patterns of the kaleidoscope. If Miss Sophia Taunton learnt 
a new song, two of the Miss Bri^ses c€ime out with a new 
duet. The Tauntons had once gained a temporary triumph 
with the assistance of a harp, but the Briggses brought three 
guitars into the field, and effectually routed the enemy. There 
was no end to the rivalry between them. 

Now, as Mr. SEunuel Briggs was a mere machine, a sort of 
seK-acting legal walking-stick ; and as the party was known 
to have originated, however remotely, with Mrs. Taunton, the 
female branches of the Briggs family had arranged that Mr. 
Alexander should attend, instead of his brother ; and as the 
said Mr. Alexander was deservedly celebrated for possessing 
all the pertinacity of a bankruptcy-court attorney, combined 
with the obstinacy of that useful animal which browses on the 
thistle, he required but little tuition. He was especially 
enjoined to make himself as disagreeable as possible; and, 
above all, to black-ball the Tauntons at every hazard. 

The proceedings of the evening were opened by Mr. Percy 
Noakes. After successfully urging on the gentlemen present 
the propriety of their mixing some brandy-and-water, he 
briefly stated the object of the meeting, and concluded by 
observing that the first step must be the selection of a choir- 



THB STEA.M BXOURSION. 869 

man, necessarily possessing some arbitraiy — he trusted not 
unconstitutional — ^powers, to whom the personal direction of 
the whole of the arrangements (subject to the approval of the 
committee) diould be confided. A pale young gentleman, in 
a green stock and spectacles of the same, a member of the 
honourable society of the Inner Temple, immediately rose for 
the purpose of proposing Mr. Percy Noakes. He had known 
him long, and this he would say, that a more honourable, a 
more excellent, or a better-hearted fellow, never existed. — 
(Hear, hear !) The young gentleman, who was a member of 
a debating society, took this opportunity of entering iuto an 
examination of the state of the EngHsh law, from the days of 
William the Conquett^ down to the present period ; he briefly 
adverted to the code established by the ancient Druids ; slightly 
glanced at the principles laid down by the Athenian law- 
givers; and concluded with a most glowing eulogium on 
pic-nics and constitutional rights. 

Mr. Alexander Briggs opposed the motion. He had the 
highest esteem for Mr. Percy Noakes as an individual, but he 
did consider that he ought not to be entrusted with these 
immense powers — (oh, oh!) — He believed that in the proposed 
capacity Mr. Percy Noakes would not act fairly, impartially, 
or honourably ; but he begged it to be distincUy understood, 
that he said this, without the slightest personal disrespect. 
Mr. Hardy defended his honourable friend, in a voice rendered 
partially unintelligible by emotion and brandy-and-water. 
The proposition was put to the vote, and there appearing to 
be only one dissentient voice, Mr. Percy Noakes was declared 
duly elected, and took the chair accordingly. 

The business of the meeting now proceeded with rapidity. 
The chairman delivered in his estimate of the probable 
expense of the excursion, and every one present subscribed 
his proportion thereof. The question was put that "The 
Endeavour" be hired for the occasion; Mr. Alexander Briggs 
moved as an amendment, that the word ** Fly" be substituted 
for the word " Endeavour ; " but after some debate consented 
to withdraw his opposition. The important ceremony of 
balloting then commenced. A tea-caddy was placed on a table 
in a da^k comer of the apartment, and every one was provided 
with two backgammon men, one black and one white. 

The chairman with great solemnity then read the following 
list of the guests whom he proposed to introduce: — Mrs 

BB 



870 SKETCHES BY BOZ. 

Taunton and ^o daughters, Mr. Wizzle, Mr. Simson. The 
names were respectiyely balloted for, and Mrs. Taunton and 
her daughters were declared to be black-balled. Mr. Percy 
Noakes and Mr. Hardy exchanged glances. 

**Is your list prepared, Mr. Briggs?" inquired the chairman. 

'* It is," replied Alexander, delivering in the following : — 
*' Mrs. Briggs and three daughters, Mr. Samuel Briggs." The 
previous ceremony was repeated, and Mrs. Briggs and three 
daughters were declared to be black-baUed. Mr. Alexander 
Briggs looked rather foolish, and the remainder of the 
company appeared somewhat overawed by the mysterious 
nature of the proceedings. 

The balloting proceeded ; but, one little circumstance which 
Mr. Percy Noakes had not originally foreseen, prevented the 
system fix)m working quite as well as he had anticipated. 
Everybody was black-balled. Mr. Alexander Briggs, by way 
of retaliation, exercised his power of exclusion in every 
instance, and the result was, that after three hours had been 
consumed in hard balloting, the names of only three gentlemen 
were found to have been agreed to. In tliis dilemma what 
was to be done? either the whole plan must fall to the ground, 
or a compromise must be effected. The latter alternative was 
preferable ; and Mr. Percy Noakes therefore proposed that the 
form of balloting should be dispensed with, and that eveiy 
gentleman should merely be required to state whom he in- 
tended to bring. The proposal was acceded to ; the TauntouB 
and the Briggses were reinstated ; and the party was formed. 

The next Wednesday was fixed for the eventful day, and it 
was unanimously resolved that every member of the committee 
should wear a piece of blue sarsenet ribbon round his left 
arm. It appeared from the statement of Mr. Percy Noakes, 
that the boat belonged to the General Steam Navigation 
Company, and was then lying off the Custom-house ; and, as 
he proposed that the dinner and wines should be provided by 
an eminent city purveyor, it was arranged that Mr. Percy 
Noakes should be on board by seven o'clock to superintend 
the arrangements, and that the remaining members of ^e 
committee, together with the company generally, should be 
expected to join her by nine o'clock. More brandy-and- water 
was despatched ; several speeches were made by tiie different 
law students present; thanks were voted to the chairman; 
and the meeting separated. 



THE STEAM EXCUKSION. 871 

The weather had been beautiful up to this period, and 
beauti^ it continued to be. Sunday passed over, and Mr. 
Percy Noakes became unusually fidgetty — crushing, constantly, 
to and from the Steam Packet Wharf, to the astonishment of 
the clerks, and the great emolument of the Holbom cabmen. 
Tuesday arrived, and the anxiety of Mr. Percy Noakes knew 
no boimds. He was every instant running to the window, to 
look out for clouds; and Mr. Hardy astonished the whole 
square by practising a new comic song for the occasion, in the 
chairman's chambers. 

Uneasy were the slumbers of Mr. Percy Noakes that night ; 
he tossed and tumbled about, and had confused dreams of 
steamers starting off, and gigantic clocks with the hands 
pointing to a quarter past nine, and the ugly face of Mr. 
Alexander Briggs looking over the boat's side, and grinning, 
as if in derision of his fruitless attempts to move. He made 
a violent efiEort to get on board, and awoke. The bright sun 
was shining cheerfully into the bed-room, and Mr. Percy 
Noakes started up for his watch, in the dreadful expectation 
of finding his worst dreams realised. 

It was just five o'clock. He calculated the time — he should 
be a good half-hour dressing himself; and as it was a lovely 
morning, and the tide would be then running down, he would 
walk leisurely to Strand lane, and have a boat to the Custom- 
house. 

He dressed himself, took a hasty apology for a breakfast, 
and sallied forth. The streets looked as lonely and deserted 
as if they had been crowded, overnight, for the last time. 
Here and there, an early apprentice, with quenched-looking 
sleepy eyes, was taking down the shutters of a shop ; and a 
policeman or milk- woman might occasionally be seen pacing 
slowly along ; but the servants had not yet begun to clean the 
doors, or light the kitchen fires, and London looked the picture 
of desolation. At the comer of a bye-street, near Temple-bar, 
was stationed a " street-breakfast." The cofiee was boiling 
over a charcoal fire, and large slices of bread and butter were 
piled one upon the other, like deals in a timber-yard. The 
company were seated on a form, which, with a view both to 
security and comfort, was placed against a neighbouring wall. 
Two young men, whose uproarious mirth and disordered dress 
bespoke the conviviality of the preceding evening, were 
treating three '^ ladies" and an Irish labourer. A Uttle 

bb2 



872 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

sweep waB standing at a short distance, casting a longing eve 
at the tempting delicacies ; and a policeman was watching the 
group from the opposite side of the street. The wan looks, 
and gaudj finery of the thinly-dad women contrasted as 
strangely with the gay sunlight, as did their forced merriment 
with the boisterous hilarity of the two young men, who, now 
and then, varied their amusements by "bonneting" the 
proprietor of this itinerant coffee-house. 

Mr. Percy Noakes walked briskly by, and when he tamed 
down Strand-lane, and caught a glimpse of the glistening 
water, he thought he had never felt so important or so happy 
in hifl life. 

" Boat, sir ! " cried one of the three watermen who were 
mopping out their boats, and all whistling. " Boat, sir ! " 

" No," replied Mr. Percy Noakes, rather sharply ; for the in- 
quiry was not made in a manner at all suitable to his dignity. 

" Would you prefer a wessel, sir ? " inquired another, to the 
infinite delight of the " Jack-in-the-water." 

Mr. Percy Noakes replied with a look of supreme contempt. 

"Did you want to be put on board a steamer, air?" in- 
quired an old fireman-waterman, veiy confidentially. He 
was dressed in a feuled red suit, just the colour of the cover 
of a very old Court-guide. 

" Yes, make haste — ^the Endeavour— off the Custom-house.'* 

" Endeavour ! " cried the man who had convulsed the 
" Jack " before. " Vy, I see the Endeavour go up half an 
hour ago." 

" So did I," said another ; " and I should think she *d gone 
down by this time, for she 's a precious sight too full of ladies 
and genlemen." 

Mr. Percy Noakes affected to disregard these representa- 
tions, and stepped into the boat, whidh the old man, by dint 
of scrambling, and shoving, and grating, had brought up to 
the causeway. "Shove her off!" cried Mr. Percy Noakes, 
and away the boat glided down the river ; Mr. Percy Noakes 
seated on the recently mopped seat, and the watermen at the 
stairs offering to bet him any reasonable sum that he 'd never 
reach the " Custxmi-us." 

" Here she is, by Jove ! " said the delighted Percy, as thej 
ran alongside the Endeavour. 

" Hold hard ! " med the steward over the side, and Mr. 
Percy Noakes jumped on board. 



THE STEAM BXCUBSIOIir. 873 

" Hope you will find everything as you wished, sir. She 
looks uncommon well this morning." 

"She does, indeed," replied the manager, in a state of 
ecstasy which it* is impossible to describe. The deck was 
scrubbed, and the seats were scrubbed, and there was a bench 
for the band, and a place for dancing, and a pile of camp- 
stools, and an awning ; and then, Mr. Percy Noakes bustled 
down below, and there were the pastrycook's men, and the 
steward's wife, laying out the dinner on two tables the whole 
length of the cabin ; and then, Mr. Percy Noakes took off his 
coat, and rushed backwards and forwards, doing nothing, but 
quite convinced he was assisting everybody ; and the steward's 
wife laughed till she cried, and Mr. Percy Noakes panted with 
the violence of his exertions. And then, the beU at London- 
bridge wharf rang ; and a Margate boat was just starting ; 
and a Gravesend boat was just starting, and people shouted, 
and porters ran down the steps with luggage that would crush 
any men but porters ; and sloping boards, with bits of wood 
nailed on them were placed between the outside boat and the 
inside boat ; and the passengers ran along them, and looked 
like so many fowls coming out of an area ; and then, the bell 
ceased, and the boards were taken away, and the boats started, 
and the whole scene was one of the most delightful bustle and 
confusion. 

The time wore on; half-past eight o'clock arrived: the 
pastrycook's men went ashore; the dinner was completely 
laid out ; and Mr. Percy Noakes locked the principal cabin, 
and put the key in his pocket, in order that it might be 
suddenly disclosed, in all its magnificence, to the eyes of the 
astonished company. The band came on board, and so did 
the wine. 

Ten minutes to nine, and the committee embarked in a 
body. There was Mr. Hardy, in a blue jacket and waistcoat, 
white trousers, silk stockings, and pumps — ^in faJl aquatic 
costume, with a straw hat on his head, and an immense 
telescope imder his arm ; and there was the young gentleman 
with l^e green spectacles, with nankeen inexplicables, with a 
ditto waistcoat and bright buttons, like the pictures of Paul — 
not the saint, but he of Virginia notoriety. The remainder of 
the committee, dressed in white hats, light jackets, waistcoats, 
and trousers, looked something between waiters and West 
India planters. 



874 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

Nine o'clock struck, and the company arrived in shoals. 
Mr. Samuel Briggs, Mrs. Briggs, and the Misses Briggs, 
made their appearance in a smart private vherry. The three 
guitars, in their respective dark green cases, were carefully 
stowed away in the bottom of the boat, accompanied by two 
immense portfolios of music, which it would take at least a 
week's incessant playing to get through. The Tauntons 
arrived at the same moment with more music, and a lion — 
a gentleman with a bass voice and an indpient red moustache. 
The colours of the Taunton party were pink ; those of the 
Briggses a light blue. The Tauntons had artificial flowers in 
their bonnets ; here the Briggses gained a decided advantage 
— ^they wore feathers. 

*'How d'ye do, dear?" said the Misses Briggs to the 
Misses Taunton. (The word "dear" among girls is firequoitly 
synonymous with " wretch.") 

" Quite well, thank you, dear," replied the Misses Taunton 
to the Misses Briggs ; and then, there was such a kissing, and 
congratidating, and shaking of hands, as might havQ induced 
one to suppose that the two families were the best friends in 
the world, instead of each wishing the other overboard, as 
they most sincerely did. 

Mr. Percy Noakes received the visitors, and bowed to the 
strange gentleman, as if he should like to know who he was. 
This was just what Mrs. Taunton wanted. Here was an 
opportunity to astonish the Briggses. 

"Oh I I beg your pardon," said the general of the Taunton 
party, with a careless air. — "Captain Helves — ^Mr. Percy 
Noakes — ^Mrs. Brig^;s — Captain Helves." 

Mr. Percy Noakes bowed very low ; the gallant captain did 
the same with all due ferocity, and the Bri^ses were dearly 
overcome. 

" Our Mend, Mr. Wizzle, being unfortunately prevented 
from coming," resumed Mrs. Taunton, " I did myself the 
pleasure of bringing the captain, whose musical talents I 
knew would be a great acquisition." 

" In the name of the committee I have to thank you for 
doing so, and to oflEer you welcome, sir," replied Percy. 
(Here the scraping was renewed.) "But pray be seated — 
won't you walk aft ? Captain, will you conduct Miss Taunton? 
— Miss Briggs, will you allow me ? " 

"Where could they have picked up that military man?" 



THE STEAM BXCUBSION. 875 

inquiied Mrs. Briggs of Miss Kate Briggs, as thej foIlo\ved 
the little party. 

*' I can^t imagine," replied Miss Kate, bursting with vexation; 
for the yery fierce air with which the gallant captain regarded 
the company, had impressed her with a high sense of his 
importance. 

Boat after boat came alongside, and guest after guest 
arrived. The invites had been excellently arranged: Mr. 
Percy Noakes having considered it as important that the 
number of young men should exactly tally with that of the 
young ladies, as that the quantity of knives on board should 
be in precise proportion to the forks. 

" Now, is every one on board ? " inquired Mr. Percy 
Noakes. The committee (who, with their bits of blue ribbon, 
looked as if they were all going to be bled) bustled about to 
ascertain the fact, and reported that they might safely start. 

'* Go on ! " cried the master of the boat from the top of one 
of the paddle-boxes. 

"Go on!" echoed the boy, who was stationed over the 
hatchway to pass the directions down to the engineer ; and 
away went tiie vessel with that agreeable noise which is 
X)eculiar to steamers, and which is composed of a mixture oi 
<^>^^<^^^^g> giulung, clanging, and snorting. 

" Hoi— oi— oi— oi--oi— oi— o— i— i— i ! " shouted half-a- 
dozen voices from a boat, a quarter of a mUe astern. 

" Ease her ! " cried the captain : " do these people belong 
to us, sir?" 

"Noakes," exclaimed Hardy, who had been looking at 
every object, far and near, through the large telescope, " it 's 
the Fleetwoods and the Wakefields — and two children with 
them, by Jove ! " 

"What a shame to bring children!" said everybody; 
" how very inconsiderate ! " 

" I say, it would be a good joke to pretend not to see 'em, 
wouldn't it?" suggested Hardy, to the immense delight of 
the company generally. A council of war was hastily held, 
and it was resolved that the new comers should be taken on 
board, on Mr. Hardy's solemnly pledging himself to tease the 
children during the whole of the day. 

" Stop her ! " cried the captain. 

"Stop her!" repeated the boy; whizz went the steam, 
and all the yoimg kdies, as in duly bound, screamed in concert 



376 SEBTCHBS BT BOZ. 

They were only appeased by the assuranoe of the martial 
Helves, that the escape of steam consequent on stopping a 
vessel was seldom attended with any great loss of human life. 

Two men ran to the side; and after some shouting, and 
swearing, and angling for i^e wherry with a boat-hook, 
Mr. Fleetwood, and Mrs. Fleetwood, and Master Fleetwood, 
and Mr. Wakefield, and Mrs. Wakefield, and Miss Wakefield, 
were safely deposited on the deck. The girl was about six 
years old, the boy about four ; the former was dressed in a 
white frock with a pink sash and dog's-eared-looking little 
spencer : a straw bonnet and green veil, six inches by three 
and a half; the latter, was attired for the occasion in a 
nankeen frock, between the bottom of which, and the top of his 
plaid socks, a considerable portion of two small mottled legs 
was discernible. He had a light blue cap with a gold band 
and tassel on his head, and a damp piece of gingerbread in his 
hand, with which he had slightly embossed his countenance. 

The boat once more started off; the band played '* Off she 
goes ; '' the major part of the company conveised cheerfully in 
groups ; and the old gentlemen walked up and down the deck 
in pairs, as perseveringly and gravely as if they were doing a 
match against time for an immense stake. Iliey ran brii^y 
down the Pool; the gentlemen pointed out the- Docks, the 
Thames Police-office, and other degant public edifices; and 
the young ladies exhibited a proper display of horror at the 
appearance of the coal-whippers and ballast-heavers. Mr. 
Hardy told stories to the married ladies, at which they laughed 
very much in their pocket-handkerchiefB, and hit him on the 
knuckles with their fans, declaring him to be ''a naughty 
man — a shocking creature'' — and so forth; and Captain 
Helves gave slight descriptions of battles, and duels, with a 
most bloodthirsty air, which made him the admiration of the 
women, and the envy of the men. Quadrilling commenced ; 
Captain Helves danced one set with Miss Emily Taunton, and 
another set with Miss Sophia Taunton. Mrs. Taunton was in 
ecstasies. The victory appeared to be complete ; but alas ! 
the inconstancy of man ! Having performed this necessary 
duty, he attadied himself solely to Miss Julia Briggs, with 
whom he danced no less than three sets consecutively, and 
frx)m whose side he evinced no intention of stirring for the 
remainder of the day. 

Mr. Hardy, having played one or two very brilliant fantasias 



THB STBAM EXCURSION. 877 

on the Jews'-liarp, and having frequently repeated the ex- 
qtdsitely amusing joke of slily chalking a large cross on the 
back of some member of the committee, Mr. Percy Noakes 
expressed his hope that some of their musical Mends would 
oblige the company by a display of their abilities. 

** Perhaps," he said in a very insinuating manner, " Captain 
Helves will oblige us ? " Mrs. Taunton's countenance lighted 
up, for the captain only sang duets, and couldn't sing them 
with anybody but one of her daughters. 

" Really," said that warlike individual, " I should be very 
happy, but — " 

" Oh ! pray do," cried all the young ladies. 

" Miss Sophia, have you any objection to join in a duet ? " 

" Oh ! not the slightest ; " returned the young lady, in a tone 
which clearly showed she had the greatest possible objection. 

" Shall I accompany you, dear ? " inquired one of the Miss 
Briggses, with the bland intention of spoiling the effect. 

" Very much obliged to you, Miss Briggs," sharply retorted 
Mrs. Taunton, who saw through the manoeuvre; ''my 
daughters always sing without accompaniments." 

" And without voices," tittered Mrs. Briggs, in a low tone. 

" Perhaps," said Mrs. Taunton, reddening, for she guessed 
the tenor of the observation, though she had not heard it 
clearly — " Perhaps it would be as well for some people, if their 
voices were not quite so audible as they are* to other people." 

" And, perhaps, if gentlemen who are kidnapped to pay 
attention to some persons' daughters, had not sufficient dis- 
cernment to pay attention to other persons' daughters," 
returned Mrs. Briggs, " some persons would not be so ready 
to display that ill-temper which, thank God, distuigaishes 
them from other persons." 

" Persons ! " ejaculated Mrs. Taunton. 

" Persons," replied Mrs. Briggs. 

" Insolence ! " 

" Creature ! " 

" Hush ! hush ! " interrupted Mr. Percy Noakes, who was 
one of the very few by whom this dialogue had been over- 
heard. " Hush ! — ^pray, silence for the duet." 

After a great deal of preparatory crowing and humming, 
the captain began the following duet from the opera of " Paul 
and Virginia," in that grunting tone in which a man gets 
down. Heaven knows where, without the remotest chance of 



878 8EETCHBS BY BOZ. 

ever getting up again. This, in private drcles, is freqnenily 
designated ** a bass voice.'' 

** See (sung the captain) from o— <so — an ri — sing 
Bright flames the or — b of d — ay. 
From yon gro — ove, the Taried so— ongs — " 

Here, the singer was interrupted by varied cries of the most 
dreadful description, proceeding from some grove in the 
immediate vicinity of the starboard paddle-box. 

"My child!" screamed Mrs. Fleetwood. "My child! it 
is his voice — I know it." 

Mr. Fleetwood, accompanied by several gentiemen, here 
rushed to the quarter from whence the noise proceeded, and 
an exclamation of horror burst from the company ; the general 
impression being, that the little innocent had either got his 
head in the water, or his legs in the machinery. 

" What is the matter ? " shouted the agonised Either, as lie 
returned with the child in his arms. 

" Oh ! oh ! oh ! " screamed the small sufPerer again. 

" What is the matter, dear ? " inquired the father, once 
more — ^hastily stripping off the nankeen frock, for the purpose 
of ascertaining whether the child had one bone which was not 
smashed to pieces. 

" Oh ! oh !— I 'm so frightened ! " 

"What at, dear? — ^what at?" said the mother, soothing 
the sweet infant. 

" Oh ! he 's been making such dreadfril faces at me," cried 
the boy, relapsing into convulsions at the bare recollection. 

" He ! — who ? " cried everybody, crowding round him. 

" Oh ! — him ! " replied the child, pointing at Hardy, who 
affected to be the most concerned of the whole group. 

The real state of the case at once flashed upon the minds of 
all present, with the exception of the Fleetwoods and the 
Wakefields. The facetious Hardy, in fulfflment of his promise, 
had watched the child to a remote part of the vessel, and, 
suddenly appearing before him with the most awM contor- 
tions of visage, had produced his paroxysm of terror. Of 
course, he now observed that it was hardly necessary for him 
to deny the accusation ; and the unfortunate little victim was 
accordingly led below, after receiving sundry thumps on the 
head from both his parents, for having the wickedness to tell 
a story. 



THB STEAM SXGUBSION. 879 

This little interruptioii having been adjusted, the captain 
resumed, and Miss EmiLy chimed in, in due course. The 
duet was loudly applauded, and, certainly, the perfect inde- 
pendence of the parties deserved great commendation. Miss 
Emily sung her part, without the slightest reference to the 
captain ; and the captain sang so loud, that he had not the 
slightest idea what was being done by his partner. After 
having gone through the last few eighteen or nineteen bars 
by himself, therefore, he acknowledged the plaudits of the 
circle with that air of self-denial which men usually assume 
when they think they have done something to astonish the 
company. 

"Now," said Mr. Percy Noakes, who had just ascended 
from the fore-cabin, where he had been busily engaged in 
decanting the wine, ** if the Misses Briggs will oblige us with 
something before dinner, I am sure we shall be very much 
deHghted." 

One of those hums of admiration followed the suggestion, 
which one frequently hears in society, when nobody has the 
most distast notion what he is expressing his approval of. 
The three Misses Briggs looked modestly at their mamma, 
and the mamma looked approvingly at her daughters, and 
Mrs. Taunton looked scorn^y at all of them. The Misses 
Briggs asked for their guitars, and several gentlemen seriously 
damaged the cases in their anxiety to present them. Then, 
there was a very interesting production of three little keys for 
the aforesaid cases, and a melodramatic expression of horror at 
finding a string broken ; and a vast deal of screwing and 
tightening, and winding, and tuning, during which Mrs. 
Briggs expatiated to those near her on the immense difficulty 
of playing a guitar, and hinted at the wondrous proficiency of 
her daughters in that mystic art. Mrs. Taunton whispered 
to a neighbour that it was "quite sickening ! " and the Misses 
Taunton looked as if they knew how to play, but disdained to 
do it. 

At length, the Misses Briggs began in real earnest. It 
was a new Spanish composition, for three voices and three 
guitars. The effSect was electrical. All eyes were turned 
upon the captain, who was reported to have once passed 
through Spain with his regiment, and who must be well 
acquainted with the national music. He was in raptures. 
This was sufficient ; the trio was encored ; the applause was 



880 8KBTCHES BT BOZ. 

imiTersal ; and never had the Tauntons suffered such a 
complete defeat. 

" Bravo ! bravo ! " ejaculated the captain ; — " Bravo ! " 

" Pretty ! isn't it, sir ? " inquired Mr. Samuel Briggs, with 
the air of a self* satisfied showman. By-the-by, these were 
the first words he had been heard to utter since he left 
Boswell-court the evening before. 

'* De — ^lightfiil! " returned the captain, with a flourish, and 
a militaiy cough ; — " de — ^lightfiil ! " 

'' Sweet instrument? " said an old gentleman with a bald 
head, who had been trying all the morning to look through a 
telescope, inside the glass of which Mr. Hardy had fixed a 
large black wafer. 

"Did you ever hear a Portuguese tamborine?*' inquired 
that jocular individual. 

" Did you ever hear a tom-tom, sir ? " sternly inquired the 
captain, who lost no opportunity of showing off his travels, 
real or pretended. 

" A what ? " asked Hardy, rather taken aback. 

" A tom-tom." • 

"Never!" 

" Nor a gum-gum ? " 

" Never ! " 

" What M a gum-gum ? " eagerly inquired several young 
ladies. 

"When 1 was in the East Indies," replied the captain. 
(Here was a discovery — ^he had been in the East Indies ! ) — 
"when I was in the East Indies, I was once stopping, a few 
thousand miles up the country, on a visit at the house of a 
veiy particular friend of mine, Ram Chowdar Doss Azuph Al 
Bowlar — a devilish pleasant feUow. As we were enjoying 
our hookahs, one evening, in the cool verandah in front of his 
villa, we were rather surprised by the sudden appearance of 
thirty-four of his Eit-ma-gars (for he had rather a large estab- 
lishment there), accompanied by an equal number of Con-su- 
mars, approaching the house with a threatening aspect, and 
beating a tom-tom. The Ram started up " 

" Who? " inquired the bald gentleman, intensely interested. 

"The Ram — Ram Chowdar — " 

" Oh! " said the old gentleman, " I beg your pardon ; pray 
go on." 

" —Started up and drew a pistol. ' Helves,* said he, * my 



THB STEAM EXCURSION. 881 

boy,' — ^he always called me, my boy — ' Helves,' said he, * do 
you bear that tom-tom ? ' ' I do,' said I. His oountenance, 
wbicb before was pale, assumed a most fidgbtful appearance ; 
bis wbole yisage was distorted, and bis J&ame sbaJsen by 
-violent emotions. 'Do you see that gum-gum?' said be. 
* No,' said I, staring about me. * You don't?' said be. 'No, 
I '11 be damned if I do,' said I ; ' and wbat 's more, I don't 
know wbat a gum-gum is,' said I. I really tbougbt tbe 
Ham would bave dropped. He drew me aside, and witb an 
expression of agony I sball never forget, said in a low 
wbisper " 

'< Dinner 's on tbe table^ ladies," interrupted tbe steward's 
wife. 

" Will you allow me ? " said tbe captain, immediately suit- 
ing tbe action to tbe word, and escorting Miss Julia Briggs to 
tbe cabin, witb as mucb ease as if be bad finisbed tbe story. 

"Wbat an extraordinary circumstance!" ejaculated tbe 
same old gentleman, preserving bis listening attitude. 

'' Wbat a traveller ! " said tbe young ladies. 

" TMiat a singular name ! " exclaimed tbe gentlemen, 
ratber con^ised by tbe coolness of tbe wbole affair. 

" I wisb be bad finisbed tbe story," said an old lady. *' I 
wonder wbat a gum-gum really is ? " 

" By Jove ! " exclaimed Hardy, wbo until now bad been 
lost in utter amazement, ** I don't know wbat it may be in 
India, but in England I tbink a gum-gum bas veiy mucb tbe 
same meaning as a bimi-bug." 

** How illiberal ; bow envious ! " cried everybody, as tbey 
made for tbe cabin, fully impressed witb a belief in tbe 
captain's amazing adventures. Helves was tbe sole lion for 
tbe remainder of tbe day — impudence and Hjie marvellous are 
pretty sure passports to any society. 

Tbe party bad by tbis time reacbed tbeir destination, and 
put about on tbeir return bome. Tbe wind, wbicb bad been 
witb tbem tbe wbole day, was now directly in tbeir teetb ; 
tbe weatber bad become gradually more and more overcast ; 
and tbe sky, water, and sbore, were all of tbat dull, beavy, 
uniform lead-colour, wbicb bouse-painters daub in tbe first 
instance over a street-door wbicb is gradually approacbing a 
state of convalescence. It bad been '* spitting " witb rain for 
tbe last balfJiour, and now began to pour in good earnest. 
Tbe wind was £rasbening very fast, and tbe waterman at tbe 



882 »KBTCHES BT BOZ. 

wheel had Tmequiroeallj expressed his opinion that there 
wotdd shortLj be a squall. A sHght emotion on the part of 
the vessel, now and then, seemed to suggest the possibility of 
its pitching to a very uncomfortable extent in the event of its 
blowing harder ; and every timber began to creak, as if the 
boat were an overladen clothes-basket. Sea-sickness, how- 
ever, is like a belief in ghosts — every one entertains some 
misgivings on the subject, but few will acfcaowledge any. 
The majority of the company, therefore, endeavoured to look 
peculiarly happy, feeling all the while especially miserable. 

" Don't it rain ? " inquired the old gentleman before noticed, 
when, by dint of squeezing and jamming, they were all seated 
at table. 

" I think it does — ^a little," replied Mr. Percy Noakes, who 
could hardly hear himself speak, in consequence of the patter- 
ing on the deck. 

** Don't it blow ? " inquired some one else. 

** No — I don't think it does," responded Hardy, sincerely 
wishing that he could persuade himself that it did not : for he 
sat near the door, and was almost blown off his seat. 

" It'll soon dear up," said Mr. Percy Noakes, in a cheerful 
tone. 

** Oh, certainly ! " ejaculated the committee generally. 

" No doubt of it ! " said the remainder of the company, 
whose attention was now pretty well engrossed by the serious 
business of eating, carving, taMng wine, and so forth. 

The throbbing motion of the engine was but too perceptible. 
There was a large, substantial, cold boiled leg of mutton, at 
the bottom of the table shaking like blanc-mange; a pre- 
viously hearty sirloin of beef looked as if it had been suddenly 
seized with the palsy ; and some tongues, which were placed 
on dishes rather too large for them, went through the most 
surprising evolutions ; darting firom side to side, and from end 
to end, like a fly in an inverted wine-glass. Then, the sweets 
shook and trembled, till it was quite impossible to help them, 
and people gave up the attempt in despair ; and the pigeon- 
pies looked as if the birds, whose legs were stuck outside, 
were trying to get them in. The table vibrated and started 
like a feverish pulse, and the very legs were convulsed— every- 
thing was shaking and jarring. The beams in HiQ roof of the 
cabin seemed as if they were put there for the sole purpose of 
giving people headaches, and several elderly gentlemen 



THB STBAM BXCUBSION. 883 

became ill-tempered in consequence. As fast as the steward 
put the fire-irons up, thej would fall down again; and the 
more the ladies and gentlemen tried to sit comfortably on their 
seats, the more the seats seemed to slide away from the ladies 
and gentlemen. Several ominous demands were made for small 
glasses of brandy; the coxmtenances of the company gradually 
underwent most extraordinary changes ; one gentleman was 
observed suddenly to rush from table without the slightest 
ostensible reason, and dart up the steps with incredible swift- 
ness : thereby greatly damaging both himself and the steward^ 
who happened to be coming down at the same moment. 

The doth was removed ; the dessert was laid on the table ; 
and the glasses were filled. The motion of the boat increased ; 
several mdhibers of the party began to feel rather vague and 
misty, and looked as if they had only just got up. The young 
gentleman with the spectacles, who had been in a fluctuating 
state for some time-^at one moment bright, and at another 
dismal, like a revolving light on the sea-coast — rashly 
announced his wish to propose a toast. After several ineffec- 
tual attempts to preserve his perpendicular, the young gentle- 
«man, having managed to hook himself to the centre leg of the 
table with his left hand, proceeded as follows : 

"Ladies and gentlemen. A gentleman is among us — I 
may say a stranger — (here some painftil thought seemed to 
strike the orator; he paused, and looked extremely odd) 
whose talents, whose travels, whose cheerfulness — " 

"I beg your pardon, Edkins," hastily interrupted Mr. 
Percy Noakes. — " Hardy, what 's the matter ? " 

** Nothing," replied the " funny gentleman," who had just 
life enough left to utter two consecutive syllables. 

** Will you have some brandy ? " 

" No ! " replied Hardy in a tone of great indignation, and 
lookiQg as comfortable as Temple-bar in a Scotch mist; 
" what should I want brandy for ? " 

" Will you go on deck ? " 

" No, I will not." This was said with a most determined 
air, and in a voice which might have been taken for an imita- 
tion of anything ; it was quite as much like a guinea-pig as a 
bassoon. 

" I beg your pardon, Edkins," said the courteous Percy ; 
" I thought our Mend was ill. Pray go on." 

A pause. 



884 8KETCHBS BT BOZ. 

*' Pray go on." 

" Mr. Edkins is gone," cried somebody. 

'' I beg your pardon, sir," said the steward, nmning up to 
Mr. Percy Noakes, " I beg your pardon, sir, but the gentle- 
man as just went on deck — ^him with the .green spectacles — is 
uncommon bad, to be sure ; and the young man as played the 
wiolin sajrs, that unless he has some brandy he can't answer 
for the consequences. . He says he has a wife and two children, 
whose werry subsistence depends on his breaMog a wessel, and 
he expects to do so eveiy moment The flageolet 's been weiy 
ill, but he 's better, only he 's in a dreadM prusperation." 

All disguise was now useless ; the company staggered on 
deck ; the gentlemen tried to see nothing but IJie clouds ; and 
the ladies, muffled up in such shawls and cloaks as they had 
brought with them, lay about on the seats, and under the seats, 
in the most wretdied condition. Never was such a blowing 
and raining, and pitching and tossing, endured by any pleasure 
party before. Several remonstrances were sent down below, on 
the subject of Master Fleetwood, but they were totally unheeded 
in consequence of the indisposition of his natural protectors. 
That interesting child screamed at the top of his voice, until, 
he had no voice left to scream with ; and then, Miss Wake- 
field began, and screamed for the remainder of iiie passage. 

Mr. Hardy was observed, some hours afterwards, in an 
attitude which induced his friends to suppose that he was 
busily engaged in contemplating the beauties of the deep; 
they only regretted that his taste for the picturesque should 
lead him to remain so long in a position, very injurious at all 
times, but especially so to an individual labouring under a 
tendency of blood to the head. 

The party arrived off the Custom-house at about two o'dock 
on the Thursday morning, dispirited and worn out. The 
Tauntons were too ill to quarrel with the Briggses, and the 
Briggses were too wretched to annoy the Tauntons. One of 
the guitar-cases was lost on its passage to a hackney-coach, 
and Mrs. Briggs has not scrupled to state that the Tauntons 
bribed a porter to throw it down an area. Mr. Alexander 
Briggs opposes vote by ballot — he says from personal expe- 
rience of its inefficacy ; and Mr. Samuel Briggs, whenever he 
is asked to express his sentiments on the point, says he has no 
opinion on that or any other subject. 

Mr. Edkins — ^the young gentleman in the green spectacles 



THB GREAT WINGLEBUBT DUBL. 8«l) 

— ^makes a speech on every occasioii on which a speech can 
possibly be made : the eloquence of which can only be equalied 
by its length. In the event of his not being previously 
appointed to a judgeship, it is probable that he will practise as 
a barrister in tiie new Central Criminal Court. 

Captain Helves continued his attention to Miss Julia Briggs, 
whom he might possibly have espoused, if it had not unfortu- 
nately happened that Mr. Samud arrested him in the way of 
business, pursuant to instructions received from Messrs. 
Scrog^ins and Payne, whose town-debts the gallant captain 
had condescended to collect, but whose accounts, with the 
indiscretion sometimes peculiar to military minds, he had 
omitted to keep with that dull accuracy which custom has 
rendered necessary. Mrs. Taunton complains that she has 
been much deceived in him. He introduced himself to the 
family on board a Gravesend steam-packet, and certainly, 
therefore, ought to have proved respectable. 

Mr. Percy Noakes is as light-hearted and careless as ever 



CHAPTER VIIL 

THE GREAT 'WINGLEBUBT DUEL. 



The little town of Great Winglebury is exactly forty-twa 
miles and three quarters from Hyde Park comer. It has a 
long, straggling, quiet High-street, with a great black and 
white dock at a small red Town-hall, half-way up — a market- 
place — a cage— an assembly-room — a churdi — a bridge — a 
chapel — a theatre — a libraiy — an inn — ^a pump— and a Post- 
ofioe. Tradition tells of a " Little Winglebury," down some 
cross-road about two miles off; and, as a square mass of dirty 
paper, supposed to have been originally intended for a letter, 
with certain tremulous characters inscribed thereon, in which 
a lively imagination might trace a remote resemblance to the 
word '''little," was once stuck up to be owned in the sunny 
window of the Great Winglebury Post-office, from which it 
only disappeared when it fell to pieces with dust and extreme 
eld age, there would appear to be some foundation for the 
legend. Common belief is inclined to bestow the name upon 

00 



oS6 SSSKBSB BT BOE. 

a litilo liole at the end of a muddy lane about a couple of 
miles long, colonised by one wheelwiiglit, four paupers, and a 
beer-shop ; but eren this autiborityy slight as it is, must be 
regarded with extreme suspicion, inasmuch as the inhabitants 
of the hole aforesaid, concur in opining that it never had any 
name at all, fix)m the earUast ages down to the present day. 

The Winglebury Arms, in the centre of the High-street, 
opposite the small building with the big dock, is the principal 
inn of Great Winglebury — ^the commercial inn, posting-house, 
and excise-office ; the ** Blue " house at every election, and the 
Judges' house at every assizes. It is the head-quarters of the 
Gentlemen's Whist Club of Winglebury Blues (so called in 
(^position to the Genilamen's Whist Club of Winglebury 
Buffs, held at the other house, a Hitle i^irther down) ; and 
whenever a juggler, or wax-work man, or concert-giTer, takes 
Great Winglebury in his circuit, it is immediately placarded 
all over the town that Mr. So-aad-so, " trusting to that liberal 
support which the inhabitants of Great Winglebury have long 
been so liberal in bestowing, has at a great expense engaged 
the elegant and commodious assembly-rooms, attached to the 
Winglebury Arms." The house is a large one, with a red 
brick and stone front; a pretfy spacious hall, ornamented 
with evergreen plants, terminates in a perspective view of the 
bar, and a glass case, in which are displayed a choice variety 
of delicacies ready for dressing, to catch the eye of a new- 
comer the moment he enters, and excite his appetite to the 
highest possible pitch. Opposite doors lead to the '' cofibe " 
end ^* commercial " roonta ; and a great wide, rambling stair- 
case, — ^three stairs and a landing — ^four stairs and anoOxet 
IftTxliTig — one step and atiother landin^^— ^half-a-doieaa stairs 
and another landing^^-and so on*— ooaduets to galleries of bed- 
rooms, and labyrinths of sitting-rooms, denominated ** private/' 
where you may eigoy yourself, as privately as you ean in any 
place where some bewildered being walks into your room 
every five minutes, by mistake, and then walks out again, to 
open all the doors along the gallery until he finds his own. 

Such is the Winglebury Arms, at this day, and such was 
the Winglebury Arms eome tkne 6inoe~no matter when — 
two or three minutes before the arrival of the London stag?. 
Four horses with doths on^- change for a coach — were 
standing quietly at the comer of the yard, surrounded by a 
listless group of post-boys in shiny hats and smodc-fiockS) 



THE G&BAT WDTeLEIUET DUEL. $87 

engaged in discussing the merits of the catde ; half a dozen 
ragged boys were standing a little apart, listening mtih 
evident interest to the conversation of these worthies ; and a 
few loungers were collected rotmd the hoise-trongh, awaiting 
the arriyal of the coach. 

The day was hot and sunny, the town in the zenith of its 
dulness, and with the exception of these few idlers, not a 
living creature was to be seen. Suddenly, the loud notes of 
a key>hugle broke the monotonous stillness of the street ; in 
came the coach, rattling over the tmeven paving with a noise 
startling enough to stop even the large-faced dock itself. 
Down got the outsides, up went the windows in all directions, 
out came the waiters, up started the ostlers, and the loungers 
and the post-boys, and the ra^ed boys, as if they were 
electrified — tmstrapping, and imchaining, and unbuckling, 
and dragging willing horses out, and forcing reluctant horses 
in, and making a most exhilarating bustle. '' Lady inside, 
here ! " said the guard. " Please to alight, ma'am," said the 
waiter. ** Private sitting-room ? " interrogated the lady. 
" Certainly, ma'am," responded the chambermaid. " Nothing 
but these 'ere trunks, ma'am?" inquired the guard. *' Nothing 
more," replied the lady. Up got the outsides again, and the 
guard, and the coachman ; off came the cloths, with a jerk, 
"All right" was the cry ; and away they went. The loungers 
lingered a minute or two in the road, watching the coach until 
it turned the comer, and then loitered away one by one. The 
street was clear again, and the town, by contrast, quieter than 
erfer. 

" Lady in number twenty-five," screamed the landlady. — 
"Thomas!" 

" Yes, ma'am." 

** Letter just been left for the gentleman in number nine- 
teen. Boots at the Lion left it. No answer." 

" Letter for you, sir," said Thomas, depositing the letter on 
number nineteen's table. 

" For me ? " said number nineteen, turning from the 
window, out of which he had been surveying the scene just 
described. 

"Yes, air," — (waiters always speak in hints, and never 
utter complete sentences) — " yes, sir, — Boots at the Lion, sir, 
— ^Bar, sir — Missis said nionber nineteen, sir — Alexander 
Trott, Esq., sir ? — ^Your card at the bar, sir, I think, sir ? " 

oo2 



888 SEETCHBS BT BOZ. 

''My name is Trott/' replied niuaber nineteen, breaking 
the seal. ** You may go, waiter." The waiter pulled down 
the window-blind, and then .pulled it up again — ^for a regular 
waiter must do something before he leaves the room — adjusted 
the glasses on the sideboard, brushed a place that was not 
dusty, rubbed his hands very hard, walked stealthily to the 
door, and evaporated. 

There was, evidently, something in the contents of the 
letter of a nature, if not wholly unexpected, certainly ex- 
tremely disagreeable. Mr. Alexander Trott laid it down, 
and took it up again, and walked about the room on par- 
ticular squares of the carpet, and even attempted, though 
unsuccesfifdlly, to whistle an air. It wouldn't do. He threw 
himself into a chair, and read the following epistle aloud : — 

" Blue Lion and Stomach-warmer, 
Great Winglebuiy. 

Wednesday Morning. 

" Sib, — Immediately on discovering your intentions, I left 
our counting-house, and followed you. I know the purport 
of your journey ; — that journey shall never be completed. 

" I have no friend here, just now, on whose secrecy I can 
rely. This shall be no obstacle to my revenge. Neither shall 
Emily Brown be exposed to the meroenaiy solicitations of a 
scoundrel, odious in her eyes, and contemptible in every body 
else's : nor will I tamely submit to the clandestine attacks of 
a base umbrella-maker. 

'' Sir. From Great Winglebuiy church, a footpath leads 
through four meadows to a retired spot known to tiie towns- 
people as Stiflfun's Acre." [Mr. Trott shuddered.] " I shall 
be waiting there alone, at twenty minutes before six o'clock 
to-morrow morning. Should I be disappointed in seeing you 
there, I will do myself the pleasure of calling with a horse- 

^' " HoBACE HxjirrEB. 

" PS. There is a gunsmith's in the High-street ; and they 
won't sell gunpowder after dark — ^you understand me. 

" PPS. You had better not order your breakfast in the 
morning until you have met me. It may be an unnecessary 
expense." 

''Desperate-minded villain! I knew how it would be!'* 



THB GBEAT WINGLBBURT DUBL 880 

ejaculated the terrified Trott. ''I always told father, that 
once start me on this expedition, and Hunter would pursue 
me like the Wandering Jew. It 's bad enough as it is, to 
many with the old people's commands, and without the girl's 
consent ; but what will Emily think of me, if I go down 
there, breathless with running away from this infernal sala- 
mander? What«^ZZIdo? What can I do? If I go back 
to the city, I'm disgraced for ever — ^lose the girl — and, what's 
more, lose ^e money too. Even if I did go on to the Browns' 
by the coach, Hunt^ would be after me in a post-chaise ; and 
if I go to this place, this Stifiun's Acre (another shudder), 
I 'm as good as dead. I 'ye seen him hit the man at the 
Pall-mall shooting-gallery, in the second button-hole of the 
waistcoat, five times out of every six, and when he didn't hit 
him there, he hit him in the head." With this consolatory 
reminiscence, Mr. Alexander Trott again ejaculated, '' What 
shaUIdo?" 

Long and weaiy were his reflections, as, burying his face 
in his hands, he sat ruminating on the best course to be 
pursued. His mental direction-post pointed to London. He 
thought of ''the governor's" anger, and the loss of the 
fortune which the paternal Brown had promised the paternal 
Trott his daughter should contribute to the coffers of his son. 
Then the words '* To Brown's " were legibly inscribed on the 
said direction-post, but Horace Hunter's denunciation rung in 
his ears ; — ^last of all it bore, in red letters, the words, '' To 
Stiffun's Acre ; " and then Mr. Alexander Trott decided on 
adopting a plan which he presently matured. 

First and foremost, he despatched the under-boots to the 
Blue Lion and Stomach-warmer, with a gentlemanly note to 
Mr. Horace Hunter, intimating that he thirsted for his 
d^truction, and would do himself the pleasure of slaughter- 
ing him next morning, without fail. He then wrote another 
letter, and requested the attendance of the other boots — ^for 
they kept a pair. A modest knock at the room door was 
heard. '' Come in," said Mr. Trott A man thrust in a red 
head with one eye in it, and being again desired to ''come in," 
brought in the body and the legs to which the head belonged, 
and a fur cap which belonged to the head. 

" You are the upper-boots, I think ? " inquired Mr. Trott. 

" Yes, I am the upper-boots," replied a voice from inside 
a velveteen case with mother-of-pearl buttons — " that is, I 'm 



890 SEITCHIS BT BOZ. 

the lyoobi as blongs to tihe house ; the other man 's my naa, 
as goes errands, and does odd jobs. Top-boots and balf-bootai 
I calls lis.'' 

" You 're from London ? " iDquired Mr. Trott. 

** Driv a cab onoe/' was iihe laconic r^lj. 

*' Why don't you drive it now?" asked Mr. Trofct 

'' Over*driY ^e cab, and driv over a 'ooman," repliei the 
top-boots, with brevity. 

'' Do you know the mayor's house ? " inquired Trott. 

'' Rather," replied the boots, signi£k)antly, as if he had 
some good reason to remember it. 

** Do you think you could mani^ to leave a letter there? " 
interr<^;ated Trott. 

'* Shouldn't wonder," responded boots. 

" But this letter," said Trott, hdlding a deformed note with 
a paralytic direction in one hand, and five shillings in the 
other — " this letter is anonymous." 

'' A— what ?" interrupted the boots. 

" ABonymoiis — ^he 's not to kstow who it comes &om." 

" Oh ! I see," reeponded ike reg'lar, with a knowing wink, 
but without evincing the slightest disinclination to undertake 
the charge — ''I see — ^bit o' Svisg, eh?" and his oae eye 
wandered round the room, as if in quest of a dax}c lantern and 
phosphorus-box. *' Bui, I say ! " he continued, reoailiBg the 
eye from its search, and bringing it to bear on Mr. TtetL "I 
say, he 's a lawyer, our mayor, and insured in the Gounfy. 
If you 've a spite agen him, you 'd better not bum his home 
down — ^blessed if I don't tibink it would be the greatest £mour 
you could do him." And he ohudded inwardly. 

If Mr. Alexander Trott had been in any odier situation, his 
first act would have been to kick the niian down stairs fay 
depuly; or, in other words, to ring the bell, and desire the 
landlord to take his boots ofil He oonteaied himself, however, 
with doubling the ^ and efxplaining thai the latter mevely 
related to a breach of the peace. The top-boots retired, 
solemnly pledged to secresy; and Mr. Alexander Trott aat 
down to a fried sole, maintenon cutlet^ Madeira, and BOwUps, 
with greater composure than he had experienced sinoe liie 
receipt of Horace Hunter's letter of defiance. 

llie lady who alighted from the London coach had no 
Gooner been installed in number twenty-five, and made some 
alteration in her travelling-dress, than she indited a note to 



THB GBBAT WINaUBUBT DUBL. 991 

Joseph Overton, eequire, noVuaixyt, aad major of Great 
Winglebuiy, requesting kU immediate attendance on priTate 
businese of paramount importanoe*<-a rammonfi which that 
worthy fbnotionaiy lost no time in ob63dng ; for after snndiy 
openings of his eyes, diTers ejaculations of *' Bless me ! " and 
other manifeBtations of surprise, he took his broad-brimmed 
hat £rom its aooustomed peg in his little front office, and 
walked briskly down the High-street to the Winglsbury 
Arms ; through the hall and up the stairoase of which estab- 
lisfaonent he was ushered by the landlady, and a crowd of 
offi^cious waiters, to the door of mimbdr twenfy-fLve. 

'' Show the gentleman in," said the stranger lady, in reply 
to the foremost waiter's announoementJ The gentleman was 
shown in aooordiagly. 

The lady rose j&om the sofa ; the mayor advanced a step 
froooL the door ; and there they both paused, for a minute or 
two, looking at one another as if by mutual oonsent. The 
mayor saw before him a buxom xichly-dresaed fiMnale of about 
forfy; the lady looked upon a sleek man, about ten yeam 
older, in drab shorts and continuations, black coat, neckcloth^ 
and gloves. 

** Miss Julia Manners ! " exclaimed the mayor at length, 
*' you astonish me." 

*' That 's yeey unfair of you, Overton," replied Miss Julia» 
*' for I have known you, long enough, not to be surprised at 
anything you do, and you might extend equal courtesy to me." 

"But to run away — actually run away — ^with a young 
man ! " remonstrated the mayor. 

" You wouldn't have me actually run away with an old one, 
I presume ? " was the cool rejoinder. ^ 

" And then to ask me — ^me — of all people in the world — ^a 
man of my age and appearance — mayor of the town — to 
promote such a scheme ! " pettishly ejaculated Joseph Overton ; 
throwing himself into an arm chair, and producing Miss Julia's 
letter from his pockety as if to ooraoborate the assertion that 
he had been asked. 

*' Now, Overton," replied Ihe ladf , *' I want your assistance 
in this matter, and I must have it. In the lifetime of that 
poor old dear, Mr. Comberry, who — who — " 

''Who was to have married you, and didn't, because he 
died first ; and who left you his property unencumbered with 
the addition of himself," suggested the mayor. 



392 SEBTOHES BY BOZ. 

''Well/' replied Mibs Julia, reddening eliglillj, ''in the 
lifetime of the poor old dear, the property had the incum- 
brance of your management ; and all I will say of that, is, 
that I only wonder it didn't die of consumption instead of its 
master. You helped yourself then : — ^help me now." 

Mr. Joseph Overton was a man of the world, and an 
attorney; and as certain indistinct recollections of an odd 
thousand pounds or two, appropriated by mistake, passed 
across his mind, he hemmed deprecatingly, smiled blandly, 
remained silent for a few seconds; and finally inquired, 
" Wbat do you wish me' to do ? " 

"I'll tell you," repHed Miss JuHar— "I'U tell you in 
three words. Dear Lo«i Peter — " 

"That's the young man, I suppose — " interrupted the 
mayor. 

"That's the young Nobleman," replied the lady, with a 
great stress on the last word. " Dear Lord Peter is consider- 
ably afraid of the resentment of his family; and we hare 
therefore thought it better to make the match a stolen one. 
He left town, to avoid suspicion, on a visit to his friend, the 
Honourable Augustus Flair, whose .seat, as you know, is 
about thirty miles from this, accompanied only by his fiEivourite 
tiger. We arranged that I should come here alone in the 
London coach ; and that he, leaving his tiger and cab behind 
him, should come on, and arrive here as soon as possible this 
afternoon." 

" Very well," observed Joseph Overton, " and then he can 
order the chaise, and you can go on to Gretna Green together, 
without requiring the presence or interference of a third 
party, can't you ? " 

"No," replied Miss Julia. **We have every reason to 
believe — dear Lord Peter not being considered very prudent 
or sagacious by his friends, and they having discovered his 
attachment to me — ^that, immediately on his absence being 
observed, pursuit will be made in this direction: to elude 
which, and to prevent our being fraced, I wish it to be under- 
stood in this house, that dear Lord Peter is slightly deranged, 
though perfectly harmless ; and that I am, unknown to him, 
awaiting his arrival to convey him m a post-chaise to a private 
asylum — ^at Berwick, say. If I don't show myself much, I 
dare say I can manage to pass for his mother." 

The thought occurred to the mayor's mind that the lady 



THB GREAT WINaLBBURT DUBL. ]S93 

might show herself a good deal witiiout fear of detection; 
seeing that she was about double the age of her intended 
husband. He said nothing, however^ and the lady proceeded. 

'* With the whole of this arrangement dear Lord Peter is 
acqtLainted ; and all I want you to do, is, to make the delusion 
more complete by giving it the sanction of your influence in 
this place, and asfligning this as a reason to the people of the 
house for my taking the young gentleman away. As it 
would not be consistent with the story that I should see 
him until after he has entered the duuse, I also wish you to 
communicate with him, and inform him that it is all going on 
well." 

** Has he arrived ? " inquired Overton. 

" I don't know," replied the lady. 

"Then how am I to know!" inquired the mayor. * "Of 
course he will not give his own name at the bar." 

" I begged him, immediately on his arrival, to write you a 
note," replied Miss Manners; " and to prevent the possibility 
of our project being discovered through its means, I desired 
him to write anonymously, and in mysterious terms to acquaint 
you with the number of his room." 

" Bless me ! " exclaimed the mayor, rising from his seat, 
and searching his pockets — " most extraordinary circumstance 
— ^he Juu arrived — ^mysterious note left at my house in a 
most mysterious manner, just before yours— didn't know what 
to make of it before, and certainly shouldn't have attended to 
it. — Oh ! here it is." And Joseph Overton pulled out of an 
inner coat-pocket the identical letter penned by Alexander 
Trott. " Is this his lordship's hand ? " 

"Oh yes," replied Julia; "good, punctual creature! I 
have not seen it more than once or twice, but I know he 
writes very badly and very large. These dear, wild young 
noblemen, you know, Overton — " 

" Ay, ay, I see," replied the mayor. — " Horses and dogs, 
play and wine — grooms, actresses, and cigars — the stable, the 
green-room, the saloon, and the tavern; and the legislative 
assembly at last." 

"Here's what he says," pursued the mayor; 'Sir, — A 
young gentleman in number nineteen at the Winglebury 
Arms, is bent on committing a rash act to-morrow morning 
at an early hour.' (That 's good — ^he means marrying.) ' If 
you have any regard for the peace of this town, or the 



894 SKnOHBS BY BOZ. 

praserration of one— it may be tvro— liamazi lives '—^'Wliai 
the deuoe does ke mean by tibtt ? " 

** That he 'b so anxious ix the osMmonj, he leiU expire if 
it 's put off; and that I may possibly do the same," replied the 
lady with great oomplacenioy. 

" Oh ! I see — ^not muoh fear of that ; — well — ' two human 
lires, you will cause him to be removed to-night/ (He wants 
to start at onoe.) ' Fear not to do this on your responsibility : 
for to-morrow the absolute necessity of the proceeding will be 
but too apparent. Remember : number nineteen. The name 
is Trott. No delay; for life and death depend upon your 
promptitude.' Passionate language, certainly. Shall I see 
him?" 

^* Do/' replied Miss Julia; ^' and entreat him to act his part 
well. ' I am half afraid of him. Tell him to be cautious." 

" I will," said the mayor. 

'' Settle all the arrangements." 

'' I will,'^ said the mayor n^ain. 

'' And say I think the chaise had beMwr be ordered fat 
one o'clock." 

"Very well," said the mayor onoe more; tmA, ruminating 
on the absurdity of the situation in which fate and old 
acquaintance had placed him, he desired a waiter to herald his 
apivroadi to the temporary representatr^e of number nineteen. 

The announcement, ^'OeutiLeman to speak with you, sir," 
induced Mr. Trott to pause half way in the glass of port, the 
contents of which he was an the act of imbibing at t^ 
moment; to rise from his chair; and retreat a few paces 
towards the window, as if to seeore a retreat, in the event of 
the risitor assuming the ferm and appearance of Horace 
Hunter. One glance at Joseph Orerton, however, quieted 
his apprehensions. He courteously motioned the stranger to 
a seat. The waiter, after a Httle jingling with the decanter 
and glasses, consented to leave the room; and Joseph Overton, 
placing the broad-brimmed hat on the chair next him, and 
bending his body gently forward, opened the busmees by 
saying in a very low and cautious tone, 

" My lord— " 

"Bh?" said Mr. AleKwnder Trott, in a lond key, with the 
vacant and mystified stare of a chilly somnambulist. 

" Hush — ^hush ! " said the cautious attorney ; " to be sure 
—quite right — no titles here — my name is Overton, sir." 



THB GBIAT WINOLKBDKT DUEL. 305 

'' Yes : the mayor of this place — yoa sent me a letter with 
anoii3rmoTis informatioiiy this aftemoon." 

''I, BET?" exclaimed Trott with iU-difisembled suzprise; 
for, coward as he was, hB would willingly have repudiated Ute 
authorahip of the letter in question. ** I, sir P " 

** Yes, you, nr ; did you not ? " responded Overton, annoyed 
with what he supposed to be an extreme degree of mmeoessary 
suspicion. " Either tibis letter is yours, or it is not. If it be, 
we can converse (Securely upon the subject at once. If it be 
not, of course I have no more to say." 

«'Stay, stay," said Trott, ''it u mine; I did write it. 
Whatoooldldo, sir? I had no Mend hero." 

'' To be sure, to be sure," said the mayor, encouragingly, 
'' you could not have managed it better. Well, sir ; it will 
be necessary for you to leave here to-night in a post-chaise 
and four. And the harder the Ix^ drive, ihe better. You 
are not safe ^m pursuit." 

" Bless me!" exclaimed Ttott^ in an agony of apprehension, 
''can such things happen in a country like this? Such 
unrelenting and oold-blooded hostility ! " He wiped oS the 
concentrated essence of cowardice that was oozing fast down 
his forehead, and looked aghast at Joseph Overt<»L. 

** It certainly is a vexy hard case," replied the mayor with 
a smile, '* tiii4;, in a free country, people can't many whom 
they li^, without being hunted down as if they were 
criminals. However, in the present instance the lady is 
willing, yoa know, and that 's the main point, after all." 

''Lady willing!" v^>eated Trott, mechanically. ''How 
do you know the lady 's willing?" 

" Come, that 's a good one," said the mayor, benevolendy 
tapping Mr. Trott on the arm with his broad-brimmed hat; 
" I have known her, well, for a long time ; and if anybody 
could entertain the remotest doubt on the subject, I aasnre you 
I have none, nor need you have." 

" Dear me ! " said Mr. Trott, rumina&g. "This is very 
extraordinary!" 

"Well, Lord Peter," said the mayor, rising. 

" Lord Peter ? " repeated Mr. Trott. 

" Oh— ah; I forgot. Mr. Trott, then— Tr ott v ery good, 
ha! ha!-^WeU, sir, the chaise shall be ready at half-past 
twelve." 



896 SKETCHBS BY BOZ. 

" And wliat is to become of me imtil then ? " inquired Mr. 
Trotty anxionflly. '' Wouldn't it save appearances^ if I were 
placed under some restraint ? '' 

'' Ah ! " replied Overton, '' very good thought-— capital idea 
indeed. I 'U send somebody up directly. And if you make 
a little resistance when we put you in the chaise it wouldn't 
be amiss — ^look as if you didn't want to be taken away, you 
know." 

" To be sure," said Trott— "to be sure." 

" Well, my lord," said Overton, in a low tOne, " until then, 
I wish your lordship a good evening." 

" Lord — ^lordship ? " ejaculated Trott again, idling back a 
step or two, and gazing, in unutterable wonder, on ^e coun- 
tenance of the mayor. 

"Ha-ha! I see,. my lord — practising the madman? — ^very 
good indeed — ^veiy vacant look-— capital, my^loi^l, capital — 
good evening, Mr. — ^Trott^-^ha ! ha ! ha ! " 

"That mayor's decidedly drunk," soliloquised Mr. Xtott, 
throwing himself back in his chair, in an attitude of reflection. 

" He is a much cleverer fellow i^ian I thought him, that 
yoxmg nobleman — ^he carries it off imcommonly well," thought 
Overton, as he went his way to the bar, there to coijiplete his 
arrangements. This was soon done. Every wprd oi the 
story was implicitly believed, and the oneroyed boots was 
immediately instructed to repair to number nj^eteen, to act as 
custodian of the person of the supposed lunatic until lialf-past 
twelve o'clock. In pursuance of this direction, that somewhat 
eccentric gentleman armed himsedf wjth a walking-stick of 
gigantic ^^ensions, and repaired, with Ms usual equanimity 
of manner, to Mr. Trott's apartment, wMch he entered with- 
out any ceremony, and mounted guard in, by qtiietly depositing 
himself on a chair near the door, where he proceeded to 
beguile the time by whisQing a popular air with great 
apparent satisfaction. 

"What do you want here, you scoimdrel?" exclaimed 
Mr. Alexander Trott, with a proper appearance of indignation 
at his detention. 

The boots beat time with his head, as he looked gently 
round at Mr. Trott with a smile of pity, and whistled an 
adagio movement. 

"Do you attend in this room by Mr. Overton's desire?" 
inquired Trott, rather astonished at the man's demeanour. 




///r ^^/ //,/'/^/// / //. ;. / ,. 



THB GBBAT WINGLBBUBT DUEL 897 

"Keep yourself to yourself, young feller/' calmly responded 
the boots, "and don't say nothin' to nobody." And lie 
whistled again. 

** Now, mind ! " ejaculated Mr. Tpott, anxLous to keep up 
the farce of wishing with great earnestness to fight a duel if 
they *d let him. " I protest against being kept here. I deny 
that I hove any intention of ^hting with anybody. But, as 
it's useless contending with superior numbers, I shall sit 
quietly down." 

"You'd better," observed the pladd boots, shaking the 
large stick ezpressiyely. 

" Under protest, however," added Alexander Trott, seating 
himself, with indignation in his face, but great content in 
his heart. " Under protest." 

" Oh, certainly ! " responded the boots ; " anything you 
please. If you're happy, I'm transported; only don't talk 
too much — ^it 'U make you worse." 

" Make me worse ? " exclaimed Trott, in unfeigned astonish- 
ment: " the man 'b drunk!" 

" You 'd better be quiet, young fbUer," remarked the boots, 
going through a threatening piece of pantomime with the 
stick. 

" Or mad ! " said Mr. Trott, rather alarmed. " Leave the 
room, sir, and tell them to send somebody else." 

"Won't do!" repUed the boots. 

"Leave the room!" shouted Trott, ringing the bell 
violently ; for he began to be alarmed on a new score. 

" Leave that 'ere bell alone, you wretched loo-nattic ! " said 
the boots, suddenly forcing the unfortunate Trott back into 
his chair, and brandishing the stick aloft. " Be quiet, you 
mis'rable object, and don't let everybody know there 's a niad- 
man in the house." 

" He w a madman ! He m a madman ! " exclaimed the 
terrified Mr. Trott, gazing on the one eye of the red-headed 
boots with a look of abject horror. 

" Madman ! " replied the boots, " dam'me, I think he if a 
madman with a vengeance ! Listen to me, you unfort'nate. 
Ah ! would you ? " [a slight tap on the head with the large 
stick, as Mr. Trott made another move towards the bell- 
handle] " I caught you there ! did I ?" 

"Spare my life!" exclaimed Trott, raising his hands 
imploringly. 



99S HKVrCHJCB BT BOX. 

'^ I don't want your life/' replied the boots, diwdniitfally, 
'' thongli I think it 'nd be a charity if somebody took it" 

**No, no, it wouldn't," interrupted poor Mr. Trott, 
hurriedly; "no, no, it wouldn't! I — I — ^'d rather keep 
it!" 

" O weny well," said the boots ; *' that 's a mere matter of 
taste— ev'ry one to his liking. Howe'eror, all I 'to got to say 
is this here : You sit quietly down in that chair, and I 'U sit 
boppersite you here, and if you keep quiet and don't stir, I 
won't damage you ; but if you move hand or &>ot till half-past 
twelve o'clock, I shall alter the expression of your countenaaoe 
so completely, that the next time you look in the glass you 'U 
ask vether you 're gone out of town, and ven you 're lilraly to 
come back again. So sit down." 

'' I will — I will," responded the victim of mistakes ; and 
down sat Mr. I^tt and dovm sat the boots too, exactly 
opposite him, with the stick ready fbr immediate action in 
case of emergency. 

Long and dreary were the hours that followed. The bell 
of Qreat Winglebuiy cburch had just taifaruck ten, and two 
bours and a half would probably elapse before succour amved. 
For half an hour, the noise occasioned by shutting up the 
shops in the street beneaiii, betokened something like life in 
the town, and rendered Mr. Trott's situation a little less 
insupportable ; but, when even these ceased, and nothing was 
heaxd beyond the occasional rattling of a post-chaise as it 
drove up the yard to change horses, and then drove away 
again, or the clattering of borses' hoo£9i in the stables behind, 
it became almost unbearable. The boots occasionally moved 
an inch or two, to knock superfluous bits of wax off Hie 
candles, which were burning low, but instantaneously resumed 
his formed position; and as he remembered to bffve heard, 
somewhere or other, that the human eye had an unfailing: 
effect in controlling mad people, he k^t his solitaiy organ of 
vision constaxitly 'fixed on Mr. Alexander Trott That unfor- 
tunate individual stared at his companion in his torn, until his 
features grew more and more indistinct-— his hair gradnally 
less red — and the room more misty and obsoure. Mr. 
Alexander Trott fell into a sound sleep, from which he was 
awakened by a rumbling in the street, and a cry of '' Ghaise- 
and-four for number twenty-five ! " A bustle on the stairs 
succeeded; the room door was hastily thrown open ; and Mr. 



THE GBBAT WnrQUBBUBT DUEL. 899 

Joeeph Overton entered, followed by four stout waiters, and 
Mrs. Williamson, the stout landlady of the Winglebuiy Arms. 

'' Mr. Overton ! " eacdaimed Mr. Alexander Trott, jumping 
up in a frenzy, '' Look at this man, sir ; consider the situation 
in which I have been plaoed for three hours past — ^the person 
you sent to guard me, sir, was a TnadTnan— a madman — a 
raging, ravaging, furious madman." 

** Bravo I " whispered Overton. 

" Poor dear ! " said the compassionate Mrs. Williamson, 
'* mad people always thinks other people 's mad." 

" Poor dear ! " ejaculated Mr. Alexander Trott, *' What the 
devil do you mean by poor dear ! Axe you the landlady of 
this house ? " 

" Yes, yes," replied the stout old lady, " don't exert your- 
self, there 's a dear ! Consider your heall^ now ; do." 

''Exert myself!" shouted Mr. Alexander Trott, ''it's a 
mercy, ma'am, that I have any breath to exart myself with ! 
I might have been assassinated three hours ago by that one- 
eyed monster with the oakum head. How dare you have a 
madman, ma'am, how dare you have a madman, to assault 
and terrify the visitors to your house ? " 

" I '11 never have another," said Mrs. Williamson, casting a 
look of reproach at the mayor. 

"Capital, capital," whispered Overton again, an lie 
enveloped Mr. Alexander Trott in a thick traveU^og-doak. 

"Capital, sir!" exclaimed Trott, aloud, "it's horrible. 
The very recollection makee me shudder. I'd rather fight 
hux duels in three hours, if I survived the first three, than 
I 'd sit for that time fince to &oe with a madman." 

" Keep it up, my Lord, as you go down stairs," whispered 
Overton, "your bill is paid, and your portmanteau in the 
chaise." And then, he added aloud, "Now, waiters, the 
gentleman 's ready." 

At tins signal, the waiters crowded round Mr. Alexander 
Trott. One, took one arm; another, the other; a third, 
walked before with a candle ; tile fourth, behind, with another 
candle : the. boots and Mrs. Williamson brought up the rear; 
and down stairs they went : Mr. Alexander Trott, expressing 
alternately at the very top of his voice either his feigned 
reluctance to go, or his uni^igned indignation at being shut 
up with a madman. 

Mr. Overton waa waiting at the chaise-door, the boys 



400 SKETCHES BT BOZ. 

were ready mounted, and a few ostiiers and stable nondescriptg 
were standing round to witness the departure of " the mad 
gentleman." Mr. Alexander Trott's foot was on the step, 
when he observed (which the dim light had prevented his 
doing before) a fig^ure seated in the chaise, closely muffled up 
in a doak like his own. 

" Who *s that ? " he inquired of Overton, in a whisper. 

"Hush, hush," replied the mayor; "the other party of 
course." 

"The other party!" ezdaimed Trott, with an efiEbrt to 
retreat. 

" Yes, yes ; you 'U soon find that out, before you go fer, I 
should think — ^but make a noise, you 'U excite suspicion if you 
whisper to me so much." 

" I won't go in this chaise ! " shouted Mr. Alexander Trott, 
all his original fears recurring with tenfold violence. " I 
shall be assassinated — ^I shall be — " 

" Bravo, bravo," whispered Overton. " I 'U push you in." 

"But I won't go," exclaimed Mr. Trott. "Help here, 
help ! They 're carrying me away against my will. This is a 
plot to murder me." 

" Poor dear ! " said Mrs. Williamson again. 

"Now, boys, put 'em along," cried the mayor, pushing 
Trott in and slamming the door. " Off with you, as quick as 
you can, and stop for nothing till you come to the next stage 
—all right!" 

" Horses are paid, Tom," screamed Mrs. Williamson ; and 
away went the chaise, at the rate of fourteen miles an hour, 
with Mr. Alexander Trott and Miss Julia Manners carefully 
shut up in the inside. 

Mr. Alexander Trott remained coiled up in one comer of 
the chaise, and his mysterious companion in the other, fi)r 
the first two or three miles; Mr. Trott edging more and 
more into his comer, as he felt his companion gradually 
edging more and more from hers ; and vainly endeavouring 
in the darkness to catch a glimpse of the furious face of the 
supposed Horace Hunter. 

" We may speak now," said his fellow traveller, at length; 
" the post-boys can neither see nor hear us." 

"That's not Hunter's voice!" — thought Alexander, 
astonished. 

"Dear Lord Peter!" said Miss Julia, most winningly: 



THB GEBAT WINaLEBTT&T DUBU 40. 

putting lier arm on Mr. Trott's ahonlder. " Dear Lord Peter. 
Not a word?" 

*' Why, it 's a woman ! " exclaimed Mr. Trott, in a low tone 
of excessive wonder. 

" Ah ! Whose voice is that? " said Jnlia; " 'tis not Lord 
Peter's." 

" No,— it's mine," replied Mr. Trott. 

''Yours!" ejaculated Miss Julia Manners; ''a strange 
man ! Gracious heaven ! How came you here ? " 

'^Whoever you are, you might have known that I came 
against my will, ma'am," replied Alexander, ''for I made 
noise enough when I got in." 

" Do you come firom Lord Peter ? " inquired Miss Manners. 

" Confound Lord Peter," replied Trott pettishly. " I don't 
know any Lord Peter. I never heard of him before to-night, 
when I 've been Lord Peter'd by one and Lord Peter'd by 
another, tiU I verily believe I'm mad, or dreaming — " 

" Whither are we going ? " inquired the lady tragically. 

"How should I know, ma'am?" replied Trott with 
singular coolness ; for the events of the evening had completely 
hardened him. 

"Stop! stop!" cried the lady, letting down the front 
glafises of the chaise. 

"Stay, my dear ma'am!" said Mr. Trott, pulling the 
glajsses up again with one hand, and gently squeezing Miss 
Julia's waist with the other. " There is some mistake here ; 
give me till the end of this stage to explain my share of it. 
We must go so far ; you cannpt be set down here alone, at this 
hour of the night." 

The lady consented ; the mistake was mutually explained, 
Mr. Trott was a young man, had highly promising whiskers, 
an undeniable tailor, and an insinuating address — ^he wanted 
nothing but valour, and who wants that with three thousand 
a-year ? The lady had this, and more ; she wanted a young 
husband, and the only course open to Mr. Trott to retrieve his 
disgrace was a rich wife. So, they came to the conclusion 
that it would be a pity to have q11 this trouble and expense 
for nothing; and that as they were so far on the road already, 
they had better go to Gretna Green, and many each other ; 
and they did so. And the very next preceding entry in the 
Blacksmith's book, waa an entry of the marriage of Emily 
Brown with Horace Hunter. Mr. Himter took his wife homa 



402 SEBTGBB8 BY BOZ. 

and begged pardon, and was -pardoned ; and Mr. Trott took kk 
wife home, begged pardon too, and was pardoned also. And 
Lord Peter, who had been detained beyond his time hy drink- 
ing champagne and riding a steeple-chase, went back to the 
Honourable Augustus Flair's and drank more diampagne^ and 
rode another steeple-chase, and was thrown and killed. And 
Horace Hunter took great credit to himself for praetiabig on 
the cowardice of Alexander Trott ; and all 'theee circHmstanoes 
were discovered in time, and carefdllj noted down ; and if yoa 
ever stop a week at ihe Winglebory Arms, they will give you 
just this account of The <jfreat Winglebuiy BueL 



CHAPTER IX 



ICRJB. JOSEPH FOBIEB. 



Most <0zten»vB wetse &e preparations at Boae 'TiUay Gsp- 
ham Bise, in the occupation of Mr. Gattleton (a jtodUxroicor 
in espedally coin^DRrtablB ouraumstanoeB), and gveat was -fiie 
anxiety of Mr. Gattleton's interesting family, as the day 'find 
for the Tepreseotation of the Private Play which, had been 
"many monthB in preparation," approaehed. .The mhok 
&mily was iofeeted with the mania for Private ThfiatrioalB ; 
the house, nsoaliy bo clean and tidy, was, .to u» Mr. 
Gkcttleton's eoEpreMdcve desoriptinn, " regularly turned ont o* 
windows ; '' the large dining-room, dismantled of its famiftare 
and ornaments, preaented a strange jumble of Hats, flies, 
wings, lamps, bridges, douds, thunder mid lightning, ftaioaD S 
and flowers, daggers and foil, and various other meawB in 
theatrical slang ioduded under the comprehensive name of 
''properties." The bed-*rooms were crowded with soeomy, 
the kitchen was occupied by cazpentem. Behearsak took 
place evety other night in the drawing-room, and evesy safe 
in the hoiue was more or less damaged by the perseveranoe 
and spirit wiiii whidi Mr. Sempronius Gatdeton, and Mibb 
Lucina, rehearsed the smothering soene in ''Othello" — it 
having been determined that that tragedy should fbnn the 
first portion of the •evening's entertainments. 

""When we 're a Uetle more peif^et, I think it will go 




^/ ■■'/...../. 'C./.; 



admirably," said Mr. SampraDius, addressisg his corps dm- 
tnatique, at the condtudon of iihe huacbed and ififtietli rehearaal. 
In conoderation of his fiiutaining the trifling inooaTenieQce of 
heaariog all the expenaee of the play, Mr. 'Semjffonius had 
been, in the most handsome maimer, tmanrnioitaly dleeted stage- 
manager. " Evans/' cxHitinaed Mr. Gattleton, ihe younger, 
addressing a tail, thin, .pale yonng gentleman, with estensive 
whiskens. '' Evans, youipiay Bodgrigo beauiiMly." 

" JBoautifally ! " echoed the thvee Miss Gatdetons ; fbr Mr. 
Brans -was pronounced by all his lady Mends to be '' quite a 
dear." He looked so interesting, and had such lovely whis- 
kers : to say nothing of his talent for writing verses in albums 
and playing the flute ! Boderigp aimpeved and bowed. 

** But I think," added theimanag^r, ''you are haordly perftot 
in the — ^£all — ^in the fencHOg-eeone, where you aie — ^you under- 
stand?" 

'' Jt 's very difficaiU;," «aid Mr. £vanB, .tiioughi&IJy ; '' I Ve 
fallen about, a good deal, m our counting-house lately 6r 
practice, only I flxid it ihurts €ae so. -Being obliged to fall 
backwards you see, it bnuaes one^ head a good deal." 

'' But you mufit take cave yon. dtoacCii imock a wmg down," 
said Mr. GaUHetcm, the eldo:, whd bftd been appointed 
•ptom'ptet, and who took as mnfih iatomat in the play as the 
youngttst of the oompai^. '** The «tage is '^ery narrow, yon 
know." 

'' Oh ! don't be afraid," wid Mr. JBvans, with a v«ry self- 
satisfied air : '<! shall iaH wdtb my head 'off,' and then I 
can't do any harm." 

"But, egad!" said Ike rmaaager, subbing his hands, ''we 
shall jnake a decided hit in ' Maaanirilo.' Uavleigh sings 
that nrasio admirably." 

Everybody echoed the sentiment. Mr. Hasleigh smiled, 
and looked focdish — ^not an unuoial 4hmg with him— thummed 
"Bdiold how brightly hveaks the moindng," and blushed as 
red as the flshennan's nigbboap hfi was irying on. 

" Let 's see," resumed the manager, tilling the number an 
his fingers, "we shall haive three dtrocing female peasants, 
beaidas FeneUa, and four fiahenaen. Then, tii^e 's our man 
T<»n ; he can have a pair of dnoks of mine, and a check shirt 
of Bob's, and a red nightsap, and he '11 d.o for another — ^thot 's 
five. In the choruses, of coarse, we can sing at the sides ; 
and in the market-scene, we can walk about in cloaks vend 

DD2 



404 flEBTOHES BT BOZ. 

things. Wlien the revolt takes place, Tom miist keep mah- 
ing in on one side and out on the other, with a pickaxe, as 
fast as he can. The effect will be electrical; it will look 
exactly as if there were an immense number of 'em. And in 
the eruption scene we must bum the red fire, and upset the 
tea-trays, and make all sorts of noises — and it 's sure to do.'' 

''Sure! sure!" cried all the performers una tfoce — and 
away hurried Mr. Sempronius Gattleton to wash the burnt 
cork off his face, and superintend the " setting up " of some 
of the amateur-painted, and never-sufficientlj-to-be-admiredy 
scenery. 

Mrs. Gattleton was a kind, good-tempered, vulgar soul, 
exceedingly fond' of her husband and children, and entertain- 
ing only three dislikes. In the first place, she had a natural 
antipathy to anybody else's unmarried daughters ; in Hie 
second, die was in bodily fear of anything in the shape of 
ridicule ; lastly — almost a necessary consequence of this feel- 
ing — she regarded, with feelings of the utmost horror, one 
Mtb, Joseph Porter over the way. However, the good folks 
of dapham and its vicinity stood very much in awe of scandal 
and sarcasm ; and thus Mrs, Joseph Porter was courted, and 
flattered, and caressed, and invited, for much the same reason 
that induces a poor author, without a farthing in his podcet, 
to behave with extraordinary civility to a two-penny postman. 

"Never mind, ma," said Miss Emma Porter, in colloqi:^ 
with her respected relative, and trying to look unconcerned; 
** if they had invited me, you know that neither you nor pa 
would have allowed me to take part in such an exhibition." 

** Just what I should have thought from your high sense of 
propriety," returned the mother. " I am glad to see, Emma, 
you know how to designate the proceeding." Miss P., by- 
the-by, had only the week before made " an exhibition " of 
lierself for four days, behind a counter at a fancy &At, to all 
and every of her Majesty's liege subjects who were disposed 
to pay a shilling each for the privilege of seeing some four 
dozen girls flirting with strangers, and playing at shop. 

" There ! " said Mrs. Porter, looking out of window; "there 
are two rounds of beef and a ham going in — clearly for sand- 
wiches; and Thomas, the pastry-cook, says, there have been 
twelve dozen tarts ordered, besides blanc-mange and jellies. 
Upon my word ! think of the Miss Gattletons in fancy 
too!" 



MBa JOSEPH POBTSB. iOt 

** Oh, it 'b too ridiculous ! " said Miss Porter, hysterically. 

" I '11 manage to put them a little out of conceit with the 
business, however," said Mrs. Porter ; and out she went on 
her charitable errand. 

" Well, my dear Mrs. Gattleton," said Mrs. Joseph Porter, 
after they had been closeted for some time, and when, by dint 
of indefatigable pumping, she had managed to extract all the 
news about the play, " well, my dear, people may say what 
they please ; indeed we know they will, for some folks axe so 
ill-natured. Ah, my dear Miss Lucina, how d'ye do ? I was 
just telling your mamma that I have heard it said, that " 

"What?" 

" Mrs. Porter is alluding to the play, my dear," said Mrs. 
Gattleton ; " she was, I am sony to say, just informing me 
that " 

" Oh, now pray don't mention it/' interrupted Mrs. Porter; 
" it 's most absurd — quite as absurd as young What 's-his- 
name saying he wondered how Miss Caroline with such a foot 
and ankle, could have the yanify to play FentiUa,*^ 

" Highly impertinent, whoerer said it," said Mrs. Gattle- 
ton, bridling up. 

" Certainly, my dear," chimed in the delighted Mrs. Porter ; 
" most undoubtedly ! Because, as I said, if Miss Caroline does 
play FeneUay it doesn't follow, as a matter of course, that she 
should think she has a pretty foot ; and then — ^such puppies 
as these young men are — ^he had the impudence to say, 
that " 

How far the amiable Mrs. Porter might have succeeded in 
her pleasant purpose, it is impossible to say, had not the 
entrance of Mr. Thomas Balderstone, Mrs. Gattleton's brother, 
familiarly called in the family " Unde Tom," changed the 
course of conversation, and suggested to her mind an excellent 
plan of operation on the evening of the play. 

Unde Tom was very rich, and exceedingly fond of his 
nephews and nieces : as a matter of course, therefore, he was 
an object of great importance in his own family. He was 
one of the best-hearted men in existence ; always in a good 
temper, and always talking. It was his boast that he wore 
top-boots on all occasions, and had never worn a black silk 
neckkerchief ; and it was his pride that he remembered all 
the prindpal plays of Shakspeare from beginning to end — and 
so he did. The result of this paixot-like accomplishment was. 



406 fSamHM BY B02. 

that he was not onfy pecpeliuiMy quotimg hixoself, "bnt Ihai he 
ootild never sit hj and hear a vkquotefcion i^om Ihe " Byran 
of Aron '' without totting the imfortonate delin^ent viglit. 
He was also something of a wag ; never missed eask €^|m»- 
tmiitf of saying vrksA he ocnittclland a good ^ling, aoid iliva- 
zxaibly looghed until he GKifld: «t afr^thing tha;^ app— rod to 
him. mirth>moTing or ridiKsbkROSv 

'' Well, girls ! '' said- Unckr Tom, after the prepanrtofy* cer»- 
mooTf of kisaiag and lio'vr-<^y«^di>«mg had heen gcm» throng^ 
— ''how d'ye get <m? Kzm>w yotor parts, eh? — ^IkiKnoa, my 
dear, act ii., scene 1 — ^piaee, left— «Be— ' UsImoWA fiite/^- 
What 's next, eh ? — ^Go on — ' The heavens — ' " 

" Oh, yes," said* Miw Luoiaa, " I xeooUeei— 

< The heavens forbid 
But that our hrvea and comforts should increase 
Bven as* ovr days do g^rour f 



" MaJce a pause hwe aoad thestt,'' saud tiie dd 
who was a great oritiei ^Bat thai* o«r lorm- and fl^miiwh* 
should ioorease'— emphasis- am liie laair sy&hle, ' crease/ — 
loud 'even,' — one, two, three, four; then Load agaxn, ^as 
aia?da$r»do grow; ' emphasiS' on lias^. That's tho wtLf, my 
deair ; tnist to your vsaabt £ae empiMtis. Jih 1 Sbm^ my hay, 
how an you?" 

"Yery well, thanhee vtade^** neLui 'i iad Ifer. Sempronnia, 
who had just appeared, locikiiiig sometibdng hhe a ria^dov«, 
with a small circle round each eye : the result of his < 
coilEziig. " Of oourse we sea youcoa Tfauraday." 

" Of couzBe, of coarse, my d«ar^boy." 

'' What a pity it is yorar nqdiew didaz't thiak of 
you prompter, Mr. BaMerstana ! " whispeml Mrst Jbrngb. 
Porter ,- " yoa would hara be«B ia^vafaiable." 

" Well, I flatter mtyMif, I thtndd htm beaii' tofaral>ly ib^ tt> 
tbe things" respontded Uncia Tom;, 

" I must bespeak sktixig isBzt yom on Ae xdght," Temumad 
Mrs. Fbrter ; " and' then, if oar dear yonng Mends here, should 
he at all wrong, you will he able to eii%hk)ii me. I shall he 
so interested." 

" I am sure I shaE be most happty to give yo« any aarist 
aace in my power." 

" Mind, it 's a bargain." 

"Certainly." 



MBS; JOfiBFE E03EBHR. 407 

'' I daa't know how it ]%'' said Mrs. Gattletfm to her 
daogihtBrB, as they were BLtting^ oonnd the fixe in the evemng^ 
lookm^ oyer their paarts^ '^ but I really Tezy much wiah Mrs. 
Joseph Porter wasn't ooming an, Thursday^ L am sure she 's 
y»Ii»Tnitig som6thiii£." 

" ShB can't mahe us xidiBukHW^ howeivar/' obsinrv«d Mr. 
Semcpraniiis Qattleton, haughtily. 

The losag^looked-for Thursday aiErxrod in due oourse, and 
brought with it, as Ms. Gattieton^ senior, j^iilosophieaJly 
obsenredy ''no disappointments to apeak oV Tme, it was 
yet a matter of doubt whethu Cassio would be enabled to get 
ist& the dress which had: been sent £)r him from the masqusKade 
waitthouse. It was equally unosxtein whethec Ihe pzincipal 
fnoale singer would be sofficiently reeorered from ihe infttt«- 
enza to make her appearance ; Mr. Haiieigh^ ih» Masanielk) 
oi tlie nighty was hoane, and raiher unwell^ in oonaeqauifie of 
the geeai quantify o£ lemon and sugaiHsandy he had eaten to 
impiove his voice; and: two fiutee and a Tiokmoello had 
pJMded severe colde. Whaito£ that? the audienne wese idl 
oommg. Erezybedy^ knew his part; the droHnsn weote ceraed 
with tansel and spsngfes ; the white phmua looked bwimtiftil; 
Mr. Svans had practised fsEdliag until he was bruised from 
head to fbot and quite potet; In^ was sure that in the 
stahbing-soene, he should make ''a dedded hit" A sel^ 
taught deaf gentleman, who had kindly ofiferod to bnng his 
flste, would be a most Tahiabls addition to the orchestra; 
Miss Jenkins's talent for the piano was too well known to be 
doubted fbr an instant; Mr. Cape had practised &e violin 
accompaniment with her, frequently; and Mr. Brown^ who 
had kindly imdertakeUy at a few hamc^ notice, to bring his 
Tioloiioello, would no doubt^ manage extremely well. 

Senran o'clock came^ and so did the audienoe; all Ihe sank 
and jhshion of Clapham and its Ticinity was fbst filling the 
theatre. There were the Smiths, the Qubbinsesy the Nizon% 
the DizoDSy &e Hicksons, people widi all oorts of names, two 
aldermen, a sheriff in penpective, Sir Ihomas Glumper (who 
had heexL knighted in the last reign lor carrying up an addteas 
on somebody's escaping from nothing) ; and last, not least, 
then weze Mrs. Joseph Porter and Uncle Tom, seated in the 
centre of the third row from the stage ; Mrs. P. amusing 
IJnoLe Tom wilh all sorts of stories, and Uncle Tom amusing 
erezy one else by laughing most immoderatdy. 



408 SEBTCHES BT BOZ. 

Ting, ting, ting ! went the prompter's bell at eight o'clock 
precisely, and dash went the orchestra into the overture to 
" The Men of Prometheus." The pianoforte player hammered 
away with laudable perseverance ; and the violoncello, which 
struck in at intervals, " sounded very weU, considering." The 
unfortunate individual^ however, wKo had undertaken to play 
the flute accompaniment " at sight," fotmd, from fatal expe- 
rienco, the perfect truth of the old adage, '' out of sight, out 
of mind ; " for being very near-sighted, and being placed at a 
considerable distance fi^m his music-bgok, all he had an 
opportunity of doing was to play a bar now and then in the 
wrong place, and put the other performers out. It is, how- 
ever, but justice to Mr. Brown to say that he did this to 
admiration. The overture, in fact, was not unlike a race 
between the different instruments ; the piano came in first by 
several bars, and the violoncello next, quite distancing the poor 
flute ; for the deaf gentleman too-too^d away, quite unconscious 
that he was at all wrong, until apprised by the applause of 
the audience, that the overture was concluded. A considerable 
bustle and shujffling of feet was then heard upon the stage, 
accompanied by whispers of " Here 's a pretty go ! — ^what 's 
to be done ? " &c. The audience applauded again, by way of 
raising the spirits of the performers ; and then Mr. Sempro- 
nius desired the prompter, in a very audible voice, to " clear 
the stage, and ring up." 

Ting, ting, tiug ! went the bell again. Everybody sat 
down; the curtain shook; rose sufficiently high to display 
several pair of yellow boots paddling about; and there 
remained. 

Ting, ting, ting ! went the beU again. The curtain was 
violently convulsed, but rose no higher ; the audience tittered ; 
Mrs. Porter looked at Uncle Tom; Uncle Tom looked at 
everybody, rubbing his hands, and laughing with perfect 
rapture. After as much ringing with the little bell as a 
muffin-boy would make in going down a tolerably long street, 
and a vast deal of whispering, hammering, and calling for 
nails and cord, the curtain at length rose, and discovered Mr. 
Sempronius Gattleton, solus, and decked for Othello, After 
three distinct rounds of applause, during which Mr. Sem- 
pronius applied his right hand to his left breast, and bowed in 
the most approved manner, the manager advanced, and said : 

" Ladies and Gentlemen — I assure you it is with sincere 



MBS. JOSEPH P02TB2. 409 

regret, that I legret to be compelled to inform you, that logo 
who was ^0 have played Mr. Wilson — I beg your pardon, 
Ladies and Grentlemen, but I am naturally somewhat agitated 
(applause) — I mean, Mr. Wilson, who was to have played 
logo, is — ^that is, has been — or, in other words, Ladies and 
Gentlemen, the fact is, that I have just received a note, in 
which I am informed that lago is unavoidably detained at the 
Post-office this evening. Under these circumstances, I trust 
— a — a — amateur performance — a — another gentleman under- 
taken to read the part — ^requests indulgence for a short time — 
courtesy and kindness of a British audience.'' Overw}ielining 
applause. Exit Mr. Sempronius GattiLeton, and curtain falls. 

The audience were, of course, exceedingly good-humoured ,- 
tlie whole business was a joke ; and accordingly they waited 
for an hour with the utmost patience, being enlivened by an 
interlude of rout-cakes and lemonade. It appeared by Mr. 
Sempronius's subsequent explanation, that the delay would 
not have been so great, had it not so happened that when the 
substitute logo had finished dressing, and just as the play was 
on the point of commencing, the original lago unexpectedly 
arrived. The former was therefore compelled to undress, and 
the latter to dress for his part; which as he found some 
difficulty in getting into his clothes, occupied no inconsider- 
able time. At last, the tragedy began in real earnest. It 
went off well enough, until the third scene of the first act, in 
which Othello addresses the Senate : the only remarkable 
circumstance being, that as logo could not get on any of the 
stage boots, in consequence of his feet being violently swelled 
with the heat and excitement, he was under the necessity of 
playing the part in a pair of Wellingtons, which contrasted 
rather oddly with his richly embroidered pantaloons. When 
Othello started with his address to the Senate (whose dignity 
was represented by, the Duke, a carpenter, two men engaged 
on the recommendation of the gardener, and a boy), Mrs. 
Porter found the opportunity she so anxiously sought. 

Mr. Sempronius proceeded : 

, ** 'Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors, 
My Terj noble and approv'd good masters, 
That I haye ta'en away thia old man's daughter, 
It is most true ; — rude am I in my speech ' " 

" Is that right ? " whispered Mrs. Porter to Unde Tom. 



410 arancHBB m bosl 

"No." 

"TeUhimso, thflft.' 

''I wilL Sam ! " oaUed out UiuiLe Tarn^ '^that's mmg, 
my boy." 

'' What's 'wxong, UboLb? " demanded OMUo, qadb& foiget- 
Hag the dignity of his sitnatioiL 

" You 'ye left out aomfithing. * True I hove msiried ' " 

" Oh^ ah ! " said Mr. SempoEWuns, eodesvounng' to hida his 
ooufusioiL as mush and. as inflfintoalLy as iita andisnoe at- 
tempted to conceal tknv halfHaB^pBeased titterihg, hy oaof^dng 
ivvth ttttraovduLaxy 



** 'true I have married her ; — 

The verj httA and front of my offending 
Hath tiui eirtttii ; no Kme.* 

{Amde) Why don't you prompty fkther ? '* 

*^ Because t 've Tnislaid my speotadLaSy" said poor Mr. 
Qattleton, aknoet dei^ with the heat and busde. 

" There, now it 's ^ruda am I^' " said UncLs Torn. 

"Yes, I know it ia/* aetanied the unfoztimate mani^ger, 
proceeding with his pact 

It woidid be useless and tiresome ixy quota the number of 
JTifltanfiftH in which Undo Tom, now oompletei^ in his etawunt, 
and instigated by the misehisvous Mrs. Farter, oomeofced Hm 
mistakes of the pex^mnen; suffioe it tk> 809% that hawmg 
mouuted his hobby, nothing could induoa him ta dimrowmt; 
so, during the whole Bftmaindar of the ph^y he pnrfnriwi a 
kind of nmning aoxxupaniment, by lanttming sttQVfbady's 
part as it was being, deliyeredy iu an under toneu Tim 
audience were highJ^ amused, Mr& Portar ddiglttad, tiba 
performers embarrassed; Unde Tom neiMtf was buHm piaaaed 
in all his life ; and Uade Tom's nephews and niaoea had 
never, although the dedared heira- to his large faii|> ai iy» ae 
heartily wished him gathered to his fathen aa oa that 
memorable occasion. 

Several other minor causes, too, united to damp Ab aidoor 
of the dramatis penoruB, None of the performers could walk 
in their tights, or move their anna in their jackets; the pan- . 
taloons were too smadl, the boots too large, and the swords of 
all shapes and sizes. Mr. Bvans, naturally too tall for the 
soeneiy, wore a black velvet hat with immense white plumes, 
thegloiy of which was lost in. ''the Ides ;" and flie ob^ ether 



Mia JOKBH BOaaOR. 411 

inconvenience of whicli was, that when it was off his head he 
could not put it on, and when it was on he could not take it 
off. Notwithstanding all his practice, too, he fell with his 
head and shoulders as neat^ thMilg|l one of the side scenes, 
as a harlequin would jump through a panel in a Christmas 
pantomime. The pione^rte "pUiyBr, o verpow e red by the 
extreme heat of the room, fainted away at the commence- 
ment of the entertainments, leaving the music of ''Masa- 
niello" to the' flute axMl violoaceiUik. The Oirchestia eompkdned 
that Mt. HiiglBi|;h pwttfaflla out, and Mr. Hadfagk declared 
that the oveiM»tt* pMMBited hit singing a note. Thsfishcv* 
men,, who wex^- hired £br the oocaaion^ reivcdted to- the very 
life, poaitivdiy lefusing ti^ play witfaaot an inoreBsad allow- 
anofr of ^irits; aod^ Hbtat (kmrnnA being oomplied with, 
getting drunk in the erufitiini seeoM ba nfttarally ae poesible. 
The red Are, whiek was bnmt at tbe oooNliieiQiL.of the cnoond 
act, iiot only neaiiy- suffDcated iiie andieiiDB;.but neaiff set the 
hQuaeonfliteiiitetka bazgaia;, and,, as it was^ ifae- zemsinder 
of the pieee was aded in a thick tag. 

In. shorty the whole affiur wa% ais Mxb* Joseph Foirttt 
taumphantly told everybody, '' a. oomplete fulnre." The 
andienoe went home at jEbur o'eLoek ia the moming, eadumstad 
with lau^ter, suffbnag from; asfme: hsadnchos^ and smdhng 
teEtlbly of bsbBBtane ancl giinpo>»tdaL The Maane. Qattleton, 
senior and junior, setiDed to rea^ with the' vagaa idea of 
emigrating to Swan. Rxres eoify in. the enaning- week 

Boee Villa has onee agaiiu reflumad its wonted appeenmee; 
tile dining-room fbmiture has bean lepkoed; the tablaa ace 
ae nieely pohahed a« i^ttmsAy-; ths han^air ehain aie 
nagged againefc the wall, ae zegnlaxi^ as ever; VeuetiaQ 
bliiMhi have been fitted to evety window in the house to 
intercept the prying gaze of Mrs. Joseph Porter. The snbfeet 
<tf theaizioalfl is nevee mentaoned in the Gatdatoa famdly, 
Wilsaa, indeed^ by Unole Toti, wheeauDei seliram ftoBL seme- 
tboea expreesiBg hb sDrpiase aad regret at fi2i£ng that his 
aephews and nieose appear to hsv^e loai Ihe selish ihey onoe 
possessed foe the beaaties of Shakq^eaxe^ and quotatiaBS fiom 
the wodM of ilM* iBnaecUl I 



412 8EBTGHBS BT BQZ. 



CHAPTER X. 

X PASSAOS IN TUB UVS OF lOL WaTKUTS TOTIXJL 

CHAPTER THB FIBST. 

Matbihokt is proverbially a serious imdertaMng. like 
an oyerweening predilection for brandy-and-water, it is a 
misfortune into which a man easily falls, and from which he 
finds it remarkably difficult to extricate himself. It is of no 
use telling a man who is timorous on these points, that it is 
but one plunge, and all is over. They say the same thing at 
the Old Bailey, and the unfortunate victims derive as much 
comfort from the assurance in the one case as in the other. 

Mr. Watkins Tottle was a rather uncommon compound of 
strong uxorious inclinations, and an tmparalleled degree of 
anti-connubial timidity. He was about fifty years of age; 
stood four feet six inches and three-quarters in his socks — ibr 
he never stood in stocking at all — plump, dean, and rosy. 
He looked something like a vignette to one of Richardson's 
novels, and had a dean-cravatiah formality of manner, and 
kitchen-pokemess of carriage, which Sir Charles Qrandison 
himself might have envied. He lived on an annuity, which 
was well-adapted to the individual who received it, in one 
respect — ^it was rather small. He received it in periodical 
payments on every alternate Monday ; but he ran himself out, 
about a day after the expiration of the first week, as regularly 
as an eight-day dock; and then, to make the compariaon 
complete, his latidlady wound him up, and he went on with a 
regular tick. 

Mr. Watkins Tottle had long lived in a state of single 
blessedness, as bachdors say, or single cursedness, as spinsters 
think ; but the idea of matrimoiiy had never ceased to haunt 
him. Wrapt in profound reveries on this never-failing theme, 
fancy transformed his small parlour in Cedl-street, Strand, 
into a neat house in the suburbs ; the half-hundredweight of 
coals under the kitchen-stairs suddenly sprang up into three 
tons of the best Walls-end ; his smaU Frendh bedstead was 
converted into a regular matrimonial four-poster ; and in the 
empty chair on the opposite side of the fire-place, imagination 



MR. WATKINS TOTTLB. 418 

aeated a beautiful yoimg lady, widi a very litde independenoe 
or will of her own, and a yeiy large independence under a will 
of her father's. 

" Who 's there ? " inquired Mr. Watkins Tottle, as a gentle 
tap at his room-door disturbed these meditations one eyening. 

"Tottle, my dear fellow, how do you do?" said a short 
elderly gentleman with a groffish voice, bursting into the 
room, and replying to the question by asking another. 

" Told you I should drop in some evening," said the short 
gentleman, as he delivered his hat into Tottle's hand, after a 
little struggling and dodging. 

"Delighted to see you, I'm sure," said Mr. Watkins 
Tottle, wishing internally that his visitor had " dropped in " 
to the Thames at the bottom of the street, instead of dropping 
into his parlour. The fortnight was nearly up, and Watkins 
was hard up. 

" How is Mrs. Gabriel Parsons ? " inquired Tottle. 

" Quite well, thank you," replied Mr. Gabriel Parsons, for 
that was the name the short gentleman revelled in. Here 
there was a pause ; the short gentleman looked at the left hob 
of the fireplace ; Mr. Watkins Tottle stared vacancy out of 
countenance. 

"Quite well," repeated the short gentleman, when five 
minutes had expired. " I may say remarkably well." And 
he rubbed the palms of his hands as hard as if he were going 
to strike a light by firiction. 

" What will you take?" ioquired Tottle, with the desperate 
suddenness of a man who knew that unless the visitor took 
his leave, he stood very little chance of taking anything else. 

" Oh, I don't know. — Have you any whiskey ? " 

"Why," replied Tottle, very slowly, for all this was 
gaining time, "I had some capital, and remarkably strong 
wUskey last week ; but it 's all gone— and therefore its 
strength " 

" Is much beyond proof; or, in other words, impossible to 
be proved," said the short gentleman; and he laughed very 
heartily, and seemed quite glad the whiskey had been drunk. 
Mr. Tottle smiled — but it was the smile of despair. When 
Mr. Gabriel Parsons had done laughing, he delicately insinuated 
that, in the absence of whiskey, he would not be averse to 
brandy. And Mr. Watkins Tottle, lighting a flat candle very 
ostentatiously; and displaying an immense key, which belonged 



414 SCBTQHIKI BY BOZ. 

to ^e straet-door, but -wbich, for the «8ke of appearaaMs, 
oceaaionally did dui^ in .aa isnagiiuiry iKii]e''OolIar; left the 
room to entreat his landlady to cliarge their gkflfies, and 
charge ^em in the lall. The appUoation was sujDoessftd ; the 
spirits veie i^peadilj called — sot from ihd vasfy deep, but tiie 
adjacent wine vaults. The two fihort gentlemen mixed their 
grog ; and then aat cosily 'donm before the fire— a pair of 
shorts, airing themael'?66. 

'' Totde/' said Mr. Gabzi^ PaflSOBOfl, ''yoaJmow my way — 
off-hand, open, say what I mean, moan wiiat I aay, hate 
reserve, and can't bear affectation. Qae, ia a bad damino 
which only hides what good, x>eop]e have >abaat -am, wi&out 
making the bad look beiter ; and rthe ^o^hor ia muflh about the 
same thing as pinking a while oottosiTatocking to wtke it look 
like a silk one, Nowlistento what I'm .going ioaay.'' 

Here, the little gentleman paused, and took a long poll at 
his brandy-and-wator. - Mr. Wa&ixifl Tottie took a aip of his, 
stirred the fire, and asflnsHnaflltanfairofipia&und aMientiKm. 

''It's df no «uflo hnmining and 'having ajbant^the maiter," 
resumed ite short gmthmifls^ — ** jpavi tvnat to ^ maoried." 

<'Why," replied Mr. WmSam Totfie, evasivriy; for he 
trembled violently, and felt a sudden tingling throughout faiB 
whole firame; ''why — I .ahonld 06rtainly*-*at laast, I tkmk I 
should like—" 

" Won't do," said ^ihe dioit frssOaman. — " Plain aifcd;free 
— or there 's an end of the matter. Jk) you want moiDey ? " 

"You know I do." 

"YcmaAmaetfaeaeK?" 

"I do." 

" And you 'd.lik© ^ be maraed ? " • 

*' Certadnly." 

"Then you idudl be. There's m end of that." Thus 
saying, Mr. Gabiiel PaBfBons took a piniih of aoujB^ and nxisfid 
another glass. 

" Let me entreat you io be onare eis{daQaitoiy," aald Totde. 
" Eeally, as ih& rpariy pxunipalfyiiilareatady I oannot oonaeiit 
to be dispoeed of, in ihifi way." 

" I 'U tell you," replied Mr. Qabriel PaoraonB, wacming with 
the 8ufc(jeet, and Ihe braDd]^^8nd-watar< — ^"I know a lady — 
she 'a Mopping with my yrite .now — who 's jtnt the ihing £)r 
you. Wdl-educated; ta&sf!rench; plays the piano; knows 
a good deal about floweni and ahells, and all &at sort of 



MB. WATKINB TQEBBUr. fiS 

ihing; and has fire hundred a-yeai:, ^priih an DneontroUalile 
power €£6i0powQg of it, by her iMt will and teetament." 

" I '11 pay my addresaes to her/' said Mr. Watkins Totiib. 
" She isn't wery young — ^ia she ? " 

" Not very ; juat the thing for you. — I Ve aaid that already.^' 
'* What ooloujredhair has the lady ? " inqnired Mr. WaiMoa 
Totda. 

'' Bgad, I hardly vaeoUect/' replied Gafarifil wxih oodnen. 
''Perhapa I ought to have observed, at &aA, ahe wean a 
front." 

'' A what ! " ejaoulated TotQe. 

** One of tixoae thing, with eurk, ahmg lusxe," aaid PanoBa, 
drawing a airaight line aarosa hia fovahdad, juat over hia eyea, 
in illuatration of hia meaning. '' I know the ^onfa black : I 
can't apeak quite .poaiiiTely about bar own hair ; becauae, 
unleaa one waUEa behmd her, and eaidtea a gHmpae of it 
under her bonnet, one aeldom aeea it ; but I ahould aay that 
it waa rathdr hghtw than the fireot — a diada of a greyiah 
tinge, perhapa." 

Mr. Watkioa Tetfle looked aa if he had certain miagiTinga 
of mind. Mr. Gabriel Panaooa peiDOKred it, and thought it 
would be aafb to b^gin the next attadc withcmt delay. 
** Now, ware you «ver in loro, Tottk ? " he xaquiied. 
Mr. Watkina Tottle bluahed up to the eyea, and down to 
the dhin, and exhibited a most eztenaiTe oombinalion of oolourB 
as he confessed the aofb impeachment. 

'' I suppoae you popped the queetion, more than onee, when 
you were a young — I beg your pardon^ — a youngar — man,'* 
said Paraons. 

*' Never in my life ! " replied hia Mend, apparently indig* 
nant at being auapaoted.of Buoh an act. *' Never ! The fact 
is, that I entertain, aa you know, peculiar opiniona on theae 
subjeefta. I am jiot afinud of ladiea, young or old — (Beut £K>m 
it ; but, I think, ihat in eompliame widi Ihe custom of the 
preaent day, ihs^ allow too much fireedon of apeedi and 
manner to marriageable men. Now, &e fact is, that any* 
thing like this eaay freedom I nearer could acquire ; and aa 1 
am always afraid of goingtoo Jter, I am.generally, I dare aay, 
omsidered formal and cold." 

'' I shouldn't wonder if y«m ware,"«qiliod PareoDS, gravely; 
" I ahouldn't wonder. However you '11 be all right in lUa 
case ; for tiie strictness and delicacy of this lady's ideas greailj 



4ie SEKTOHBS BT BOZ. 

ezoeed yotir own. Lord bless you, why when she came to our 
house, there was an old portrait of some man or other, with 
two large black staring eyes, hanging up in her bedrooms- 
she positively revised to go to bed there, till it was taken 
down, considering it decidedly wrong." 

" I think so, too," said Mr. Watkins Totde ; " certainly." 

" And then, the other night — I never laughed so much in 
my life "—resumed Mr. Gabriel Parsons; "I had driven 
home in an easterly wind, and caught a devil of a face-ache. 
Well; as Famiy — ^that's Mrs. Parsons, you know — ^and this 
Mend of hers, and I, and Frank Ross, were playing a rubber, 
I said, jokingly, that when I went to bed 1 should wrap my 
head in Fanny's flannel petticoat. She instantly threw up her 
cards, and left the room." 

" Quite right ! " said Mr. Watkins Tottle, " she could not 
possibly have behaved in* a more dignified manner. What 
did you do ? " 

' Do ? — ^Frank took dummy ; and I won sixpence ? " 

" But, didn't you apologise for hurting her feelings ? " 

''Devil a bit. Next morning at breakfast, we talked it 
over. She contended that any reference to a flannel petticoat 
was improper ; — ^men ought not to be supposed to know that 
such things were. I pleaded my coverture ; being a married 
man." 

"And what did the lady say to that?" inquired Tottle, 
deeply interested. 

" Changed her ground, and said that Frank being a single 
man, its impropriety was obvious." 

" Noble-minded creature ! " exclaimed the enraptured 
Tottle. 

"Oh! both Fanny and I said, at once, that she was 
regularly cut out for you." 

A gleam of placid satisfaction shone on the circular face of 
Mr. Watkins Tottle, as he heard the prophecy. 

" There 's one thing I can't understand," said Mr. Gabriel 
Parsons, as he rose to depart ; " I cannot, for the life and 
soul of me imagiue, how the deuce you'll ever contrive to 
come together. The lady would certainly go into convulsions 
if the subject were mentioned." Mr. Gabriel Parsons sat 
down again, and laughed until he was weak. Tottle owed 
him money, so he had a perfect right to laugh at Tottle's 
expense. 



ME. WATKINS TOTTLE. 417 

Mr. Watkins Totde feared, in ids own mind, that this was 
another characteristic which he had in common with this 
modem Lucretia. He, however, accepted the invitation to 
dine with the Paxsonses on the next day but one, with great 
firmness ; and looked forward to the introduction, when again 
left alone, with tolerable composure. 

The sun that rose on the next day but one, had never 
beheld a sprucer personage on the outside of the Norwood 
stage, than Mr. Watkins Tottle ; and when the coach drew up 
before a card-board looking house with disguised chimneys, 
and a lawn like a large sheet of green letter-paper, he 
certainly had never Hghted to his place of destination a gentle- 
man who felt more uncomfortable. 

The coach stopped, and Mr. Watkins Tottle jumped — ^we 
beg his pardon — alighted, with great dignity. " All right ! '' 
said he, and away went the coach up the hill with that 
beautiful equanimiiy of pace for which '' short " stages are 
generally remarkable. 

Mr. Watkins Tottle gave a faltering jerk to the handle of 
the garden-gate bell. He essayed a more energetic tug, and 
his previous nervousness was not at all diminished by hearing 
the bell ringing like a £re alarum. 

'' Is Mr. iParsons at home ? " inquired Tottle of the man 
who opened the gate. He could hardly hear himself speak, 
for the bell had not yet done tolling. 

" Here I am," shouted a voice on the lawn, — and there 
wae Mr. Gabriel Parsons in a flannel jacket, running back- 
wards and forwards, from a wicket to two hats piled on each 
other, and from the two hats to the wicket, in the most violent 
manner, while another gentleman with his coat off was getting 
down the area of the house, after a ball. When the gentle- 
man without the coat had found it — ^which he did in less than 
ten minutes — ^he ran back to the hats, and Gabriel Parsons 
pulled up. Then, the gentleman without the coat called out 
'* play,** very loudly, and bowled. Then, Mr. Gabriel Parsons 
knocked the ball several yards, and took another run. Then, 
the other gentleman aimed at the wick